I'm in the process of selecting an appropriate journal for my article. I short-listed a few journals based on topic coverage, IF and speed of the review process.

I am confused: should I select a journal with higher IF (2.3) published by a non-reputable publisher (MDPI) or should I publish in a journal with low IF (1.2) published by a reputable publisher (IEEE)?

By reputation I mean the reputable publisher (IEEE) is specialized in my area of research and non reputable (MDPI) is an Open Access publisher.

  • @CapeCode I found a lot of discussions regarding MDPI and mostly people are referring to Beall's list of journals. If a journal is already listed in Scopus, Pubmed, has an impact factor and ranked as Q2, then how can we give importance to Beall's list?
    – Mohaqiq
    Mar 22, 2017 at 1:31
  • it is best to read the journal articles yourself. There is a world of difference between an MDPI article and say an article from a reputable IEEE journal. You will find that MDPI articles are poorly written and presented, and contains incremental/trivial/not-interesting ideas. Nov 4, 2021 at 19:37
  • Impact factor and "reputation" (aka prestige/brand value) are rarely useful criteria. thinkchecksubmit.org provides some advice.
    – Nemo
    Jul 28, 2022 at 15:05

5 Answers 5


Another way to see which is reputable or not, besides the impact factor, is the Editorial Board. Which of these journals have, in your opinion, the strongest Ed.B. (measured by expertise/fame etc). Journals with stronger Ed.B. will guarantee better visibility of your result and, probably, more technical/specialized review process.

You should also know that IF is, sometimes, artificial in the sense that it does not capture the exact quality of the journal. In my field, TCS, there are many highly ranked journals (for example Combinatorica) the impact factor of which is less than many mediocre journals. But does it mean anything? No.

Also, more specialized journals (and hence with lower IF, although that's not always the case) have better visibility on your own field. Submitting your paper in a general purpose journal includes the risk of your paper getting "lost" in otehr unrelated, or borderline related, papers which means high risk of being overlooked by potential readers. You might say that this can be solved by posting it on ArXiv but I found out many interesting papers for my research the way I described above.

At the end of the day, nobody is scrutinizing IF: what matters is how reputable and well known the journal is and how easy or hard is to publish there.

  • 1
    +1, but re: Submitting your paper in a general purpose journal includes the risk of your paper getting "lost" - this is not AFAIK a concern in my field (pure math), where in many fields the top papers are typically published in general math journals. E.g., in number theory there are far too many papers in specialist journals (even just the good ones) to pay attention to, and publishing in top general journals helps highlight your papers IMO.
    – Kimball
    Nov 4, 2021 at 12:58

My recommendation is to choose the publisher's reputation over the impact factor. MDPI is not a reputable publisher, nor will it ever be.

I used to work for MDPI a few years ago, so I can attest that the negative comments people have written on forums about MDPI are mostly truthful. MDPI's main aim is to make as much money as possible - they'll publish anything and everything. That means employers will not be impressed that you have published a paper in an MDPI journal because literally anyone can do that. It reminds me of kindergarten when the teachers would give every kid in the class a prize, but we all knew it was worthless because every kid got one. MDPI will publish anything, so long as you pay their fee.

Don't fall for their claim they're Swiss (they're Chinese). I would say around 95% of the papers are written by Chinese students.

  • 3
    "That means employers will not be impressed that you have published a paper in an MDPI journal" Yes, that's one way to put it. To be a bit more blunt, it could very well happen that some people in a hiring committee think that a paper in such a journal actually adds negative value to your publication list. Nov 3, 2021 at 20:27
  • 2
    @JochenGlueck. Agreed, and that reminds me of another point: MDPI boasts they have a very fast turnaround. Editors are pressured into editing the papers quickly at the expense of quality. That shows money is the priority, not quality.
    – Only_me
    Nov 7, 2021 at 14:57

The publisher's reputation is more important. In my area, MDPI publishes poor quality papers. The impact factor can be inflated easily; e.g., the journal publishes hot topics, has many tutorial/survey/introductory papers, etc. All these factors can improve a journal's impact factor.


Journal reputation comes first - because people recognize the journal name, but not the publisher that publishes it.

For example, I'd be surprised if most scientists can name the publisher that publishes Nature or Science. In fact, try it as an exercise: search for the top ten journals in your field with the highest impact factor, and try to name the publisher that publishes them. If the journal name doesn't give the answer away (many IEEE journals have "IEEE" in the name) I'd be surprised if you can name more than half.

MDPI is somewhat special because their journals follow a standard naming pattern, but even then: if you take every journal in the world whose name is a single word, and attempt to identify which are published by MDPI, I'd be surprised if you get more than half of them right.

  • MDPI uses generic names for journals and they are similar to the names of other journals. That makes it difficult for people to differentiate them. For example, ScienceDirect publishes 'Cell' and meanwhile, MDPI publishes 'Cells.' If an author lists all of his/her published papers on a resume, the reader might not notice the additional 's' on MDPI's journal. ScienceDirect is a better publisher in my opinion.
    – Only_me
    Nov 7, 2021 at 15:09
  • 1
    @Only_me I think your comment reinforces my point, since ScienceDirect isn't a publisher. People know journals better than publishers - hence journal reputation comes first.
    – Allure
    Nov 7, 2021 at 15:15
  • Yes, I agree with you; journal reputation comes first. I was adding my two cents about MDPI's naming conventions since you mentioned naming patterns in your post.
    – Only_me
    Nov 11, 2021 at 16:41

Ultimately you should ask your supervisor or close colleagues which journal they recommend. You can also look at in which journals the top researchers in your field usually publish.

In the absence of better reasons, personally, I would value publisher reputation over the journal's impact factor. Especially in your case since the two journals have comparably low IFs and MDPI is a dubious publisher.

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