7 September 2018
MDPI's comment on Science article

Comment on Science Article Covering the Change of Editor-in-Chief for Nutrients

A recent article in Science Magazine covered the transfer of the Editor-in-Chief position for the journal Nutrients. The article suggests that, as an open access publisher, MDPI has an incentive to publish more papers of "mediocre quality and importance" to increase revenues and that, as a result, the relationship with the editors of Nutrients suffered to a point where 10 editors felt the need to resign. We wish to clarify that there was no pressure on editors to lower standards in the journal.

Of course, the "incentive problem" applies to all journals that use an APC model. To overcome this issue and ensure that editorial decisions are independent, we provide editorial board members complete freedom and control over editorial decisions. There is no financial incentive for academic editors of MDPI journals to accept or reject individual papers following the peer-review process. MDPI does also not set any targets for academic editors with regards to rejection rates, impact factor, or (arbitrary) citation numbers. The independence of our editorial board is fundamental to upholding the expected quality standards and, as a result, the Impact Factors of almost all MDPI journals have increased gradually in recent years (see page 16 in the 2017 Annual Report). MDPI’s mission is to promote open science, support scholars in their efforts to advance research, and provide opportunities for innovation. Ensuring the full availability of funded research to scientists and the public has been a cornerstone of this mission since 1996. For us, publishing quality research means a focus on correctly executed experiments with sound scientific hypotheses that help to solve open scientific questions or strengthen conclusions.

We greatly appreciate the work of the previous Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Jon Buckley and of the founding Editor-in-Chief Prof. Peter Howe and thank them for their contribution over many years that has helped to develop the journal, and increase both the quality and size of the journal. We are pleased to have appointed Prof. Maria Luz Fernandez and Prof. Lluís Serra-Majem, both researchers with outstanding profiles, as new Editors-in-Chief to take the journal forward (read the official announcement here) and work with over 100 international editorial board members to maintain quality publications in Nutrients.

MDPI Management Team

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