History of MDPI

MDPI (Molecular Diversity Preservation International or Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute) was originally started as a non-profit institute for the promotion and preservation of the diversity of chemical compounds. The institute became a publishing house over time, whilst the samples project still exists. MDPI has hosted or organized several scientific conferences, including electronic (virtual) conferences. The timeline below summarizes major milestones of the project in each year since its establishment.

1995
Preparation for founding a worldwide center for the collection of rare chemical samples was started. In order to promote this project, a journal entitled Molecules was planned and ISSN 1420-3049 obtained after application by Dr. Shu-Kun Lin, then, working at Ciba-Geigy in Basel. The Editorial Board of the journal was set up with Dr. Shu-Kun Lin as the Editor-in-Chief. Several advertisements were published in leading chemistry journals in order to promote the samples collection project.
1996
MDPI registered,
Molecules launched.
Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) was officially founded and registered in the commercial register in Basel, Switzerland in June 1996 by Dr. Shu-Kun Lin and Dr. Benoit R. Turin. The stated goal of the entity was the international promotion and preservation of the diversity of chemical compounds by launching the collection of samples that could be made available to the scientific community for research purposes. The same year the journal Molecules was launched in collaboration with Springer Verlag as one of the first electronic journals on chemistry. The University of Basel offered the hosting of the first homepage for MDPI, then at www.unibas.ch/mdpi. Later, MDPI launched its own server and the website was made available at www.mdpi.org.
1997
Molbank launched, Molecules publishes 74 papers.
MDPI took over the publishing of Molecules from Springer Verlag and started to publish it as an open access journal. The Molbank section of Molecules was introduced in the same year (Molbank publishes papers on synthetic compounds and natural products as one-compound-per-paper short notes. The section became an independent journal with its own ISSN 1422-8599 in 2003). Dr. Derek McPhee started working part-time as an Editorial Assistant to the then Editor-in-Chief of Molecules, Dr. Esteban Pombo-Villar. Until 2002 when the first staffed Editorial Offices were started he would handle from Canada all the manuscript processing duties (manuscript receipt, peer review, layout and editing) for Molecules and the new journals as they were launched, while Dr. Shu-Kun Lin handled all the actual publishing and administrative tasks. The first yearly e-conference ECSOC (http://www.mdpi.org/ecsoc/) was held this year.
1998
Molecules publishes 81 papers.
A legal dispute with Springer Verlag regarding the ownership of the title Molecules was resolved outside of court. MDPI has continued to publish Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049) until this day, while Springer Verlag published another competing journal titled Molecules Online (ISSN 1433-1373, until it was discontinued in 1999). Dr. Benoit R. Turin left the board of directors of MDPI in order to concentrate on his many other professional activities. The same year, a new journal International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IJMS) was planned, ISSN 1422-0067 obtained and the Editorial Board formed by Dr. Shu-Kun Lin.
1999
Entropy launched, 94 papers published.
Dr. Shu-Kun Lin took over as Editor-in-Chief of Molecules, replacing Dr. Pombo-Villar whose senior management duties with Novartis no longer allowed him to dedicate appropriate attention to the journal. Dr. Derek McPhee was formally appointed its Managing Editor. Over the years, Derek has actively edited more than a thousand manuscripts and has supervised the editorial procedure for several thousands of manuscripts in his current function as Editor-in-Chief of Molecules. Another MDPI journal Entropy (ISSN 1099-4300) was founded by Dr. Shu-Kun Lin who also served as the founding Editor-in-Chief. Two Nobel Laureates joined the Editorial Board of Entropy (Prof. Dr. Philip W. Anderson, Princeton University and Prof. Dr. Kenneth J. Arrow, Stanford University) and stayed until 2006, when the original Editorial Board was reorganized.
2000
IJMS launched, Molecules publishes 354 papers, in total 381 papers published.
The IJMS officially started publication with Prof. Dr. Jerzy Leszczynski as the founding Editor-in-Chief and two Nobel Laureates on the Editorial Board (Dr. Jerome Karle, Naval Research Laboratory and Prof. Dr. Yuan-Tseh Lee, Academia Sinica). Dr. Francis Muguet (1955-2009) joined MDPI as an Associate Editor for Molecules, Entropy and the IJMS and initiated production of print issues of the these three journals using infrastructure kindly provided by ENSTA. Francis also helped to run several mirrors of the MDPI website (some still running today).
2001
Sensors launched, 260 papers published.
Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220) was launched. The idea of launching this title was formed earlier when Dr. Shu-Kun Lin met Prof. Dr. Ursula E. Spichiger-Keller on the train leaving the French speaking part of Switzerland when Ursula was returning to Zurich from her home and when Dr. Shu-Kun Lin returned to Basel after handling chemical samples in an office offered by Dr. Benoit R. Turin in a Valais village.
2002
Editorial branch opened in China, first two congresses co-organized, 242 papers published.
The MDPI office moved from Sängergasse 25, 4054 Basel to Matthäusstrasse 11, 4057 Basel. Dr. Shu-Kun Lin opened an editorial office in Qingdao, China in collaboration with the Ocean University of China. The International Symposium on Frontiers in Molecular Science 2002 (ISFMS2002, http://www.mdpi.org/isfms2002) was held in Qingdao, China the same year. It was the second scientific congress organized by MDPI (see http://www.mdpi.org/conferences.htm). The Editorial Office in Qingdao operated until early 2005.
2003
Marine Drugs launched, 315 papers published.
The journal Marine Drugs (ISSN 1660-3397) was launched in the Qingdao Editorial Office. The International Symposium on Sensor Science (I3S 2003) was held for the first time in Paris, France, organized mainly by Dr. Francis Muguet. We ran I3S 2004 in Nanjing, China (organized by Prof. Dr. Huangxian Ju) and I3S 2005 at Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Germany (organized by Prof. Dr. Michael J. Schoening).
2004
IJERPH launched, 270 papers published.
The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH, ISSN 1660-4601) was launched. Many papers in the earlier volumes of this journal were papers presented at the International Symposium on Recent Advances in Environmental Health Research (organized by Prof. Dr. Paul B. Tchounwou, the Editor-in-Chief). The journal title Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247) was planned and a paper was published. However, this journal only started to grow in 2009, thanks to the great editorial job of Ms. Yan (Jely) He.
2005
Two-tier publication system used, 391 papers published.
MDPI started to use a two-tier publication system whereby certain papers were published in a subscriber-only area for those papers where authors did not wish to contribute financially to the publication costs (see http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/10/6/583/). Mr. Dietrich Rordorf joined MDPI as Dr. Shu-Kun Lin's assistant in August 2005. As an experiment, a modified version of the online submission and editorial system based on the Open Journals System (http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs/) was launched by Dietrich for IJMS. The handling of manuscripts was subsequently transferred to an in-house editor for the IJMS (the papers were handled by the Editor-in-Chief’s assistant before). Molecules celebrated its tenth anniversary.
2006
Full open access policy instituted, standardization of the editorial process, 417 papers published.
Using the experience from the IJMS, several other then externally edited journals were taken back in-house, including Entropy, Marine Drugs and Sensors. The editorial board of Entropy was reorganized after a dispute with the former Editor-in-Chief of the journal. Francis Muguet and Derek McPhee helped MDPI to defend the interests of this open access journal and MDPI. The editorial handling of manuscripts was professionalized and standardized across all MDPI journals. The two-tier publication system was abandoned after a few months test and replaced by full open access policy, see http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/8/3/131/.
2007
Strong growth of the project, Editorial office enlarged, 663 papers published.
The editorial office in Basel was expanded by hiring and training two full-time editorial staff. Mr. Matthias Burkhalter joined as Assistant Editor of Sensors in February 2007. Another staff member was hired as Assistant Editor for the IJMS in March 2007. During that Summer Dietrich Rordorf and Marco Biasini worked on a database and publication system which enabled semi-automated conversion of scientific articles to XML format and production of PDF and HTML versions. Two papers were experimentally published in Marine Drugs using this conversion system at the end of the year. Later, part of the system was split off to build a new database and dynamic publication system for the journals. The XML conversion system had been further improved and started to be regularly used in 2011 only. Three new journals were planned in 2007 with preliminary websites setup: Algorithms, Energies and Materials which were launched all in the following year. For the first time slight profitability was reached for the publication project, which demonstrates the financial viability and success of the fully open access publication model.
2008
New website at www.mdpi.com, re-opened office in China, 1124 published papers, 3 newly launched journals.
The domain www.mdpi.com was purchased to host the future publication system for the MDPI journals. Sensors and Molecules rapidly expanded through several topical special issues guest edited by leading scientists. MDPI joined CrossRef and started to assign DOI numbers to each published paper in May-June 2008. At the same time, the open access policy instituted in 2006 was further clarified and the Creative Commons license adopted, retrospectively, for all papers published by MDPI. An office was re-opened in China and three editorial staff members were quickly hired. The office in Basel was expanded by hiring a few students working part-time. The new publication system was launched at www.mdpi.com in October 2008. With the new website a series of tools was made available to editors to ease the maintenance of the publications database and to guarantee data integrity. The three journals planned in 2007 started publication. Three new journals were planned in 2008 with preliminary websites setup: Sustainability, Remote Sensing and Viruses.
2009
New system for e-conferences, accelerated growth, 2332 published papers, 12 newly launched journals.
Twelve new journals started publication, effectively doubling the MDPI journal portfolio: Cancers, Diversity, Future Internet (a journal founded following the advice of Dr. Francis Muguet), Nutrients, Pharmaceutics, Polymers, Remote Sensing, Sustainability, Symmetry, Toxins, Viruses and Water. A new system was deployed to host electronic conferences at www.sciforum.net and launched with the hosting of the 13th International Electronic Conference on Synthetic Organic Chemistry (ECSOC-13). Dr. Yuan Gao was appointed as the Managing Director for the branch office of MDPI’s editorial work in Beijing, China.
2010
New version of the publication system, 4103 published papers, 10 newly launched journals.
MDPI AG (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute) was founded in May 2010 as an operating company for the journals by Dr. Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf. Dietrich Rordorf was appointed CEO. The publication system of the journals, including the administration backend, was reengineered. The second version of the publication system brought large performance increases and further efficient administration of the database. An internal reporting and controlling system instituted more transparency about the evolution of the journals.
2011
New submission system launched, intensified promotion, 4684 papers published, 25 newly launched journals. In total, 15430 papers published.
A new submission and manuscript handling system (Susy) — internally developed by Mr. Thomas Schurter — was launched for all MDPI journals. The promotion activities of MDPI were intensified: flyers of the journals and promotional gifts with engraved MDPI logo were sent out to editors and authors of MDPI journals. MDPI also went social by opening a Facebook page. The XML conversion system was further modified and finally used on a larger, operating scale.
2012
Mobile apps launched, 7000 papers published, 23 new journals. In total, 21000 papers published.
iPhone and Android app versions of the MDPI platform are made available via the iTunes and Google Play store. Total staffing of the two Editorial Offices reached 100 in June 2012. In total, 23 new journals started publication during 2012. Four journals were accepted for coverage by the Science Citation Index Expanded (Web of Science): Toxins, Remote Sensing, Water and Polymers.
2013
MDPI continues to grow, Basel office moved to Klybeckstrasse 64, 4057 Basel, Switzerland, Wuhan office opened, increased impact factors.
A new office was opened in Wuhan, China, in March 2013. Jely He served as the Managing Director for the operations in China. The Basel headquarters moved from Kandererstrasse 25, 4057 Basel, Switzerland to a larger office at Klybeckstrasse 64, 4057 Basel, Switzerland in July 2013. Most impact factors of MDPI journals grew significantly and five journals received their first Impact Factor in June 2013. Forests, Atmosphere, Micromachines and Symmetry were newly accepted for coverage by the Science Citation Index Expanded. Sustainability was accepted for coverage by the Science Citation Index Expanded and the Social Sciences Citation Index. Religions was accepted for coverage by the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. The MDPI Magazine was launched in Summer 2013. A rewritten version of the MDPI submission system was released in August 2013. A first version of OAlit was released, and an institutional membership was setup in Fall 2013. MDPI sponsored various conferences all over the world. Total staff reached 180 by the end of 2013.

Last updated: 7 January 2014