Recently, one of my articles has been accepted in Frontiers. At first, I thought, Frontiers' journals are reputable and they acted like a reputable journal by just assigning an associate editor and then 2 reviewers to take care of my article. Last month, they sent the reviewers' comments. It was easy overall for both reviewers' comments. I sent the revised version and it got accepted. You know, Frontiers show the name of reviewers after that article is accepted. I checked the profile and research interests of both reviewers, but unfortunately none of them had any interest or published materials in the field of my article. Even one of them was from a really distant major that I study, which makes me think that their comments were easy cause they did not have any expertise in this field. Right now, I have a really bad feeling about it and want to know does it have any bad effect on me when someone looks at my article and see it got reviewed by some people without knowledge about this field? Any suggestion or recommendation is appreciated.


I used financial hardship ground to withdraw my article from publishing and thanks to not paying their publishing fee as well as not approving the proof version of article and not transferring copyright to Frontiers, it seems they accepted to withdraw my article. In fact, they act pretty much like a predatory journal. I checked several published or accepted articles in that particular journal: "Frontiers in Materials" and indeed it seems there is no connection between peer-reviewers background and the reviewed articles. Also, the interesting thing, which I'm not sure how to interpret, is that usually the peer-reviewers of their articles are from same country or even same university as authors that might introduce high chance of conflict of interests... Anyway, I have a plan to submit it in a more prestigious journal in my field (definitely not OA).

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    It might depend on the particular Frontiers journal. They got some initial flak early on for some predatory practices (mostly for spam requests for submissions), and they are certainly for-profit, but I've published there and so have many colleagues and I read and cite papers from Frontiers. The reviewers in my experience have had reasonable suggestions and I never felt like a paper just waltzed in there. There are other questions here asking about Frontiers journals for you to read through.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 24, 2019 at 19:24
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    @BryanKrause, I have no opinion on the question at hand or on Frontiers, but will note that "for-profit" and "high quality" are not mutually exclusive. It is when the profit is more important than the quality that it becomes problematic.
    – Buffy
    Apr 24, 2019 at 19:38
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    @Buffy I don't think my comment made any implication that they are mutually exclusive, but the charge levied against Frontiers by others is that they favor publishing over rejecting work due to a profit motive that may impinge on impartial review. An alternative view is that their open peer review system leads to more productive review and less grandstanding by reviewers. Judging which motive takes precedence is difficult.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 24, 2019 at 19:43
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    In my field they seem to be a relatively high impact factor outlet for decent ideas or efforts which didn't yield particularly great results. If you have a result that you think is very promising or exciting, I'd seek a better journal. But I certainly don't hold put them in the same category with the fake journals. Apr 24, 2019 at 22:35
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    @AloneProgrammer Does the specific Frontiers journal you published in publish work you read and would cite? That's a better indicator than the impact factor.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 24, 2019 at 23:33

4 Answers 4


The short answer is, you shouldn't be too worried, but you should make some deliberate choices with your next submissions.

As @BryanKrause mentions, the quality of Frontiers in depends on the specific journal. Some have better editors than others, who will/are able to recruit better reviewers, and therefore have a better review/editorial process. I have heard Frontiers in Neuroscience maintains higher standards.
Frontiers seems to revolve around 'special issues', so you will always need to consider who the specific editors of the issue are. I have noticed in some cases, these special issues are used to create an 'easy' venue for a specific community to generate papers out of a workshop or symposium. In other cases, the special issues can be considered quite serious.

Overall, Frontiers in, and the open-access publishing model in general, is very young. They are also trying out some rather radical ideas for the review process. Many people will be skeptical for a while, regardless of the quality. Some will embrace it, and also have a better opinion of others who embrace it. My expectation is that in the long term, Frontiers (or some other open-access journals) will win out, but this will take some time.

As a consequence, I'd say it is unfortunate if you published your best work in a Frontiers in which isn't of the best quality. But if you have other publications in more established venues, it is unlikely to count against you with a future hiring committee. My advice is to make sure your next paper or two are in very established journals, after which it is up to you if you want to push the open-access model more again.

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    "I have heard Frontiers in Neuroscience maintains high standards." Not really. My work is partially related neuroscience and I read a lot of papers in Frontiers in Neuroscience and I could say those works have lower quality for example in comparison to American Journal of Neuroradiology. May 1, 2019 at 14:32
  • That's too bad, since that's actually the only example I've heard very positive things about. Nonetheless, I do know good researchers who publish somewhat regularly in Frontiers, and I also know people who have advised me against publishing good work in Frontiers, yet some of their most cited papers are in Frontiers.
    – Steve Heim
    May 2, 2019 at 7:17
  • I think the problem of Frontiers journals generally is that reviewers do not have enough experience in papers that they are assigned to review. I'm not sure there is a intention to choose reviewers in this way but usually reviewers do not have any published material in that particular field of papers that they are trying to review. One example was my paper that reviewers had nothing to do with my field at all and another one was an article from my PhD adviser that is published in Frontiers in Physiology, which is full of errors because reviewers did not have any expertise in that field. May 2, 2019 at 13:50
  • I've heard this comment before. I've also heard of at least one case where a colleague got excellent reviews from a Frontiers in submission. (Excellent, meaning, very useful)
    – Steve Heim
    May 2, 2019 at 14:31

I am a mathematician. I have published articles about a mathematical object called the "Swiss-Cheese operad." Today, I was invited to be a reviewer by an editor of "Frontiers in Microbiology" for an article on the effect of some protein on cheese quality. I will let the reader be the judge of what this says about the quality of this journal, and what impression a paper published in such a journal would leave in someone's CV.

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    Dear mathemathician, I understand your irritation for editors wasting your precious mathematics times, but one anedocte does not make a statistics, it can be as trivial as homonym or as bad as the journal applying machine learning to fish out reviewers from arxiv... would you mind referring us the editor name or at least notifying them of the trivial error? It would help making the world a better place.
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 12, 2022 at 13:54
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    @EarlGrey My name is uncommon enough that a homonym is out of the question (for fun, I looked it up in google adding "biology" or "cheese", no result other than myself). You're reframing this as irritation from an arrogant mathematician. But really, I'm just reporting an egregious behavior. I stated that I am a mathematician and some background context to explain why I don't believe there is any other possibility than the scenario where the editor just picked a reviewer almost randomly.
    – N.I.
    Apr 12, 2022 at 14:02
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    @EarlGrey Also, I find your tone and formulations a bit strange. Would you mind disclosing if you have any relationship to these "Frontiers" journals? I'm not sure what other reason you would have to ask me to publicly shame a specific editor rather than the journal in general.
    – N.I.
    Apr 12, 2022 at 14:06
  • Sure, I have no relationship with Frontiers.
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 12, 2022 at 14:48
  • Well, it seems I can find you just by searching "Swiss-Cheese operad." and knowing your username here in SE. So, it's pretty clear that editor of that journal had no idea that "Swiss-Cheese operad." has nothing to do with real swiss cheese... Apr 12, 2022 at 20:15

I submitted a paper to Frontiers in Earth Science. I have published over 100 papers in reviewed journals and many in the best journals in my field. The Frontiers reviews were extremely rigorous and we went through many exhausting iterations. The reviewers were not familiar with the exact area I was working on, but their comments and requirements substantially improved the ms. I have been asked to review many papers for Frontiers and some have been well away from my areas of expertise. It was quite easy to decline the invitations. I would recommend Frontiers in Earth Science but be prepared for some rigorous iterative reviews.


Probably not. The people assessing you can be divided into two broad categories: those who think Frontiers is predatory, and those who don't.

In the former case, they are likely to consider you a victim. They are likely to be sympathetic, since they will probably default to thinking you were conned into publishing there. Even then there's a good chance that if they are able to read and understand your paper they will do that instead of judge by the publisher alone.

In the latter case, the question of whether they'd think less of you for publishing with Frontiers doesn't arise in the first place.

The only time there might be damage is if you're talking to someone who considers Frontiers predatory, and you make it clear that you don't consider Frontiers predatory & you willingly published there. Then they might start questioning your motives, investigating you for undeclared conflict of interest because who else would defend an (obviously, to them) predatory publisher, etc. Example of similar situation with MDPI. Still since you aren't defending Frontiers, this probably won't happen to you, and you have nothing to worry about.

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