MDPI is an organisational acronym used by two related organisations, Molecular Diversity Preservation International and Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, which were both co-founded by Shu-Kun Lin. The first organisation, Molecular Diversity Preservation International, founded in 1996, is primarily a chemical sample archive, with some scholarly publishing and conference activities. The second organisation, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, was founded in 2010, primarily as a publisher. As of 2018 MDPI publishes 213 academic journals, including 37 that have received an impact factor. However, the quality of MDPI's peer review is disputed.
MDPI was included on Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory open access publishing companies in 2014 but was removed in 2015. Beall's list was shut down in 2017; Beall later wrote that he had been pressured to shut down the list by various publishers, specifically mentioning MDPI. The publisher was downgraded to level 0, the lowest level, in the Norwegian Scientific Index for the year 2019, although most individual journals are listed at level 1.
|Country of origin|
|Key people||Shu-Kun Lin|
|Publication types||Open access journals|
Molecular Diversity Preservation International was founded and registered as a non-profit association (Verein) by Shu-Kun Lin and Benoit R. Turin in Basel in 1996 to enable the deposit and exchange of rare molecular and biomolecular research samples.
The journal Molecules was established in 1996 in collaboration with Springer-Verlag (now Springer Science+Business Media) in order to document the chemical samples of the MDPI collection. Several other journals were established by the MDPI Verein, including Entropy (1999), the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2000), Sensors (2001), Marine Drugs (2003), and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2004). The publisher MDPI AG (see below) was spun off from MDPI Verein in 2010.
MDPI Verein co-organized several academic conferences, including the International Symposium on Frontiers in Molecular Science. It also runs virtual conferences, such as the Electronic Conference on Synthetic Organic Chemistry, which was started in 1997. In 2010 MDPI launched the platform Sciforum.net to host virtual conferences. In 2014, various virtual conferences were hosted in the areas of synthetic organic chemistry, material sciences, sensors, and sustainability. In 2015, MDPI co-organized two physical conferences with and at the University of Basel, the 4th Internationational Symposium on Sensor Science and the 5th World Sustainability Forum. Since 2015, scholars can organize their own conference for free on the Sciforum platform.
MDPI, a publisher of open-access scientific journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains editorial offices in China, Spain and Serbia.
In December 2011, the MDPI journal Life published Erik D. Andrulis' theoretical paper, Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life, aiming at presenting a framework to explain life. It attracted coverage by the popular science and technology magazines Ars Technica and Popular Science, which characterized it as "crazy" and "hilarious". A member of the editorial board of Life resigned in response.
In 2013, another MDPI journal, Entropy, published a review paper claiming glyphosate may be the most important factor in the development of obesity, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and infertility. The paper itself does not contain any primary research results. It was criticized as pseudo-science by the popular science magazine Discover. With regard to the same controversial study, Jeffrey Beall has rhetorically asked, "When publishers like MDPI disseminate research by science activists like Stephanie Seneff and her co-authors, I think it’s fair to question the credibility of all the research that MDPI publishes. Will MDPI publish anything for money?". One of its journals had been targeted in the Who's Afraid of Peer Review? sting operation and rejected the fake paper.
In 2014, following the criticism of Jeffrey Beall, OASPA investigated MDPI for controversies related to the Andrulis paper published in Life, the Australian paradox paper published in Nutrients, as well as other aspects related to the operation of the company. They concluded that MDPI continued to meet the criteria for inclusion in OASPA.
In 2016, MDPI journal Behavioral Sciences published a review paper that claimed that watching pornography is a cause of erectile dysfunction. Six scientists independently contacted MDPI concerned about fraud and other issues in the article. An independent review by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) was initiated, which recommended that the article be retracted. Issues raised by COPE and/or critics included:
MDPI issued a correction that amended the conflicts of interest declaration to read:
Retraction Watch noted that this modified declaration does not identify the activities of The Reward Foundation nor does it address Doan's conflict of interest, though it does declare that no other conflicts of interest exist. It does not address the concerns COPE raised about ethics and informed consent, nor act on its recommendation that the paper be retracted by the journal. It does take account of Scott Lane's comments, in that it adds that "[i]n addition, the academic editor's name has been removed from the manuscript," but in doing so leaves unresolved questions about the approval and review process for the article. According to retraction Watch, an MDPI spokesperson's final words on the subject were "The argument is already done. Both sides got large audience. Time to stop and made peace."
MDPI was included on Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory open access publishing companies in February 2014, and removed in October 2015 following a successful appeal. Beall's concern was that "MDPI's warehouse journals contain hundreds of lightly-reviewed articles that are mainly written and published for promotion and tenure purposes rather than to communicate science." Beall also claimed that MDPI used email spam to solicit manuscripts. Beall remained critical of MDPI after removing the publisher from his list; in December 2015 he wrote that "it is clear that MDPI sees peer review as merely a perfunctory step that publishers have to endure before publishing papers and accepting money from the authors" and that "it's clear that MDPI's peer review is managed by clueless clerical staff in China." MDPI characterized Beall's comments as "an incompetent general critique" and alleged that the inclusion of MDPI on his list was motivated by a hostility towards open access publishing in general, noting that he had recently published a commentary on that theme.
Among the reasons Beall gave for adding MDPI to his list of questionable publishers was the accusation that the company listed Nobel Prize–winning geneticist Mario Capecchi in one of the editorial board without his knowledge. This was later revealed as the result of an inaccurate communication by Capecchi's assistant.
Following Beall's criticism of MDPI, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) conducted an investigation in April 2014 and concluded that MDPI meets the OASPA Membership Criteria, stating that "Based on our findings we feel satisfied that MDPI continue to meet the OASPA Membership Criteria".
Further critique was raised by Martin Haspelmath who argues that the publication model employed by MDPI "creates a strong incentive to create journals and book imprints that function like 'vanity presses,' allowing authors to publish their low-quality work without significant risk of rejection." In response to Haspelmath, MDPI published a commentary in the same journal disputing a number of points.
MDPI was removed from Beall's list in 2015. In a 2017 article in Biochemia Medica, Beall wrote that he had been pressured to remove his list due to harassment from predatory publishers, and mentioned MDPI specifically as a publisher that had "tried to be as annoying as possible to the university so that the officials would get so tired of the emails that they would silence me just to make them stop."
In August 2016, MDPI was breached, leaving exposed 17.5 GB of data, including 845,000 e-mail addresses and e-mail exchanges between authors, editors and reviewers. According to MDPI, the unprotected instance at which the data was breached has since been protected.
In August 2018, 10 senior editors (including the editor-in-chief) of the journal Nutrients resigned, alleging that MDPI forced the replacement of the editor-in-chief because of his high editorial standards and for resisting pressure to "accept manuscripts of mediocre quality and importance."
Algorithms is a monthly peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal of mathematics, covering design, analysis, and experiments on algorithms. The journal is published by MDPI and was established in 2008. The founding editor-in-chief was Kazuo Iwama. Its current editor-in-chief is Henning Fernau (University of Trier).Atmosphere (journal)
Atmosphere is a monthly peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering research related to the Earth's atmosphere. The journal is published by MDPI and was established in 2010. The founding editor-in-chief was Daniela Jacob (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology) until 2014. She was succeeded by Robert Talbot (University of Houston).Axioms (journal)
Axioms is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal that focuses on all aspects of mathematics, mathematical logic and mathematical physics. It was established in June 2012 and is published quarterly by MDPI.
The editor-in-chief is Humberto Bustince (Public University of Navarre).Entropy (journal)
Entropy is a monthly peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering research on all aspects of entropy and information theory. It was established in 1999 and is published by MDPI. The journal regularly publishes special issues compiled by guest editors. The editor-in-chief is Kevin H. Knuth (University at Albany, SUNY).Genes (journal)
Genes is a quarterly peer-reviewed open access scientific journal that is published by MDPI. The editor-in-chief is J. Peter W. Young (University of York). It covers all topics related to genes, genetics, and genomics.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by MDPI. The editor-in-chief is Paul B. Tchounwou. According to the Journal Citation Reports 2018 edition, the journal has a 2017 impact factor of 2.145, ranking 116/241 (Q2) in the ‘Environmental Sciences’ category and 73/180 (Q2) in 'Public, Environmental & Occupational Health' in the Science Citation Index Expanded.International Journal of Molecular Sciences
The International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IJMS) is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering research in chemistry, molecular physics (chemical physics and physical chemistry), and molecular biology. It is published by MDPI and was established in 2000. The editors-in-chief are Michael Iba, Charles Brennan, Stephen Bustin, Mark Cronin, Claude A. Daul, Claire Hellio, Kurt A. Jellinger, Ian A. Nicholls, and Andreas Taubert.Life (journal)
Life is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by MDPI that was established in 2011. The editors-in-chief are Helga Stan-Lotter, William Bains, Niles Lehman, Andrew Pohorille, and Pabulo H. Rampelotto.Since 2014, the journal offers open peer review (optional, at the authors' discretion).The journal covers all fundamental themes in life sciences, especially those concerned with the origins of life and evolution of biosystems. It publishes reviews, research articles, communications and technical notes.List of MDPI academic journals
This is a list of academic journals published by MDPI, a publisher listed on Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory open access publishing companies in 2014 but which was removed in 2015. As of April 2018, MDPI published 197 journals.Marine Drugs
Marine Drugs is a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal publishing reviews and regular research papers on the research, development, and production of therapeutic agents from marine natural products. It is published by MDPI and was established in 2003. The editor-in-chief is Prof. Orazio Taglialatela-Scafati (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy).Materials (journal)
Materials is a monthly peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering materials science and engineering. It was established in 2008 and is published by MDPI. The editor-in-chief is Maryam Tabrizian (McGill University). The journal publishes reviews, regular research papers, short communications, and book reviews. There are occasional special issues.Molbank
Molbank is a peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journal covering synthetic chemistry and natural product chemistry, established in 1997 as a section of Molecules and is published by MDPI. After 2001, the journal was published on its own, and become online-only in 2009.
The journal is focused on publishing short notes in a one-compound-per-paper format, on individual compounds containing experimental data records for individual molecules, which are not always publishable as such. Special attention is paid to a convincing characterization of new compounds which must be documented by appropriate supplementary material. In addition, depositing compound samples via the MolMall service is encouraged.
Molbank was launched to preserve and exploit molecular diversity of both chemical information and chemical substances. The journal is indexed by CAS, DOAJ and Scopus.Molecules (journal)
Molecules is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal that focuses on all aspects of synthetic organic chemistry and natural product chemistry. It was established in March 1996 and is published monthly by MDPI. From 1997 to 2001, Molbank was published as a section of the journal, before splitting into its own journal.
The editor-in-chief is Derek J. McPhee (Amyris Biotechnologies).Nutrients (journal)
Nutrients is an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing reviews, regular research papers, and short communications on all aspects of nutrition. It was established in 2009 and is published by MDPI.
Until September 2018, the editor-in-chief was Jonathan Buckley of the University of South Australia. In 2018, Buckley and the other nine senior members of the editorial board resigned, claiming that MDPI "pressured them to accept manuscripts of mediocre quality and importance".Remote Sensing (journal)
Remote Sensing is a monthly peer-reviewed open access academic journal focusing on research pertaining to remote sensing and other disciplines of geography. It was established in 2009 and is published by MDPI. The founding editor-in-chief was Wolfgang Wagner (Vienna University of Technology) until September 2, 2011, when he resigned over the journal's publication of a paper co-authored by Roy Spencer, which had received significant criticism from other scientists soon after its publication. Since then, the editor-in-chief has been Prasad S. Thenkabail (United States Geological Survey).Sensors (journal)
Sensors is a monthly peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journal that is published by MDPI. It was established in June 2001. The editors-in-chief are Vittorio M.N. Passaro, Assefa M. Melesse, Mohamed F. Younis, W. Rudolf Seitz, and Alexander Star. Sensors covers research on all aspects of sensors and biosensors. The journal publishes original research articles, short notes, review articles, book reviews, product reviews, and announcements related to academia.Sustainability (journal)
Sustainability is a monthly peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journal that is published by MDPI. It was established in 2009. The journal explores the likelihood of cultural, environmental, economic and social sustainability for human beings.Toxins (journal)
Toxins is a monthly open-access scientific journal covering toxins and toxicology. It is published by MDPI.Viruses (journal)
Viruses is a monthly peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by MDPI covering all aspects of virology. It was established in 2009. The editor-in-chief is Eric O. Freed (National Cancer Institute). The journal is associated with the American Society for Virology, Australasian Virology Society, Canadian Society for Virology, Italian Society for Virology, and Spanish Society for Virology.