Information for Editors

About MDPI

MDPI is one of the forerunners and a leader when it comes to the open access publishing model. MDPI was originally founded in 1996 as Molecular Diversity Preservation International — an institute to preserve molecular diversity by collecting rare chemical research samples. In the same year, MDPI started the journal Molecules as the first free electronic journal for synthetic organic chemists. The journal was originally built on the idea of promoting the collection and preservation of rare chemical samples from the authors, and instead offering free access to the readers of the journal.

Over the years, MDPI has developed to become a professional publishing house of open access journals, catering for diverse scientific subjects ranging from basic research in natural and social sciences, to engineering and applications. Today MDPI stands for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute and is a separate entity headquartered in Basel, Switzerland with three branch offices in China (two in Beijing and one in Wuhan)."

Open Access. What Does It Really Mean?

Open Access is mainly a response to what is known as the serials crisis: yearly increasing journal subscription prices, which make subscription-based journals increasingly difficult to afford. Already now, many university libraries around the world have had to cancel existing subscriptions, or are unable to keep up with subscribing to new journals due to budget restraints. As a result, scholars have less access to the literature that is crucial for their research. With open access publishing, the cost of peer-review and production of an article is usually born by the institute of the author by payment of a one-time flat-rate fee. Conversely, readers and their institutes are no longer charged for accessing the journals they need.

For researchers, open access brings the convenience of immediate access to the literature — no matter for which university or company they work, or whether they just want to read a paper in their spare time at home. Access to the full papers is free to all, including students, practitioners and the general public.

For authors, open access means a potentially much wider circle of readers due to the easy access to their research papers. With open access, the larger readership can include researchers from small institutions, which are unable to keep up with ever raising subscription prices and ever growing numbers of journals available for subscribing; researchers from developing countries, whose universities can even hardly afford subscribing to the major journals; and the interested general public — the latter giving partly higher transparency to the outcome of taxpayer money spent on research.

Journals Published by MDPI

More than 90 journal titles are currently published by MDPI and available online in open access format at www.mdpi.com. MDPI continuously launches new journals in response to academic developments, and to be able to serve additional research communities and their needs. MDPI is the only truly multidisciplinary open access publisher with journals’ subjects ranging from chemistry to economics, from biology to engineering.

Open Access and Article Processing Charges (APC)

All articles published by MDPI are made immediately available under an open access license worldwide. This means that everyone has free and unlimited access to the full-text of all articles published in MDPI journals. Due to this free availability of the journals, MDPI has no income from selling subscriptions to its journals, nor from pay-per-view fees. Except for a small number of Google Ads on the website (which contribute only marginally to cover the costs of operation), MDPI’s journals are also free of advertisement. However, MDPI has similar costs for producing articles as traditional publishing houses. The open access publication is supported by authors' institutes or research funding agency by payment of a comparatively low Article Processing Charge (APC) per accepted article. Up-to- date information on our APCs can be viewed at www.mdpi.com/about/apc/.

MDPI Editorial Offices

MDPI is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. Three branch offices are located in China (two in Beijing, one in Wuhan). The in-house staff consists of Managing Editors, Assistant Editors, Production Editors, English Editors, Copyeditors, Data Specialists, Software Engineers and Administrative Specialists. Except for most English Editors, all are employed by MDPI and its subsidiaries and work at the MDPI offices. Our collaborating editors on our Editorial Boards are typically employed at academic institutions or corporate research facilities located all over the world. The contact with the inhouse editorial staff is mainly by e-mail, in some cases by telephone or postal mail. The in-house editorial staff normally work for several journals related to their educational background. Assistant Editors usually process manuscripts through the peer-review and production procedures; Managing Editors have the editorial responsibility for the journals; Production Editors, English Editors, Copyeditors and Data Specialists are responsible for putting accepted content into a publishable format (full-text PDF, XML and HTML versions). Contact information such as e-mail and postal addresses, telephone and fax numbers, can be found at www.mdpi.com/about/contact/.

Journal Editorial Boards

Each journal has an Editorial Board. The Editorial Board is usually divided into an Editorial Office, comprised of the Editor-in-Chief, as well as the in-house Managing Editor, Assistant Editors and the Production Editors; and the General Editorial Board, consisting of senior researchers reflecting the research published in the journal, and present and past Guest Editors of the journal. The Editorial Office is basically responsible for running the journal, and upholds active communication with the Editorial Board. The Editorial Board members are asked to review one or two manuscripts per year, and might write papers for the respective journal or serve as a Guest Editor of a special issue related to their research interests. The Editorial Office seeks advice from the Editorial Board whenever considered necessary or productive. The term for an Editorial Board membership is two years and can be renewed.

Editorial Process, Peer-Review and Production

All articles submitted to MDPI journals are subject to strict peer-reviewing (half-blind peer-review, i.e. the reviewers know the authors’ identities, but the authors do not know the reviewers’ identities). The MDPI online submission system incorporates online tools for manuscript submission, peer-reviewing and editorial decision making. The reviewers and external editors will not need to have an account with the MDPI submission system in order to finish the tasks assigned to them. Rather, the system will recognize the reviewers and external editors through one-time usable IDs in the URLs.

The Instructions for Authors on the website of each MDPI journal guides authors on how to prepare and submit their manuscripts. Once a manuscript is submitted, the submission is received by the inhouse Managing Editor who will subsequently coordinate the whole editorial process for the manuscript: peer-review, decision-making, possible authors’ revision, manuscript acceptance, copyediting, English editing, proofreading and final publication. An in-house Assistant Editor will be assigned to the submitted article and will send review requests to a number of peers. A sufficient number of review reports will be collected—at least two reports per manuscript; three reports in those cases where the first two review reports differ heavily. In case of minor revisions, the Editorial Office will send a request for revisions directly to the authors, before requesting the final decision from an external editor. In case of major revisions, the paper will undergo a second round of peer-review after the authors’ revisions. Finally, the collected review reports and the revised version of the manuscript will be forwarded to the Editor-in-Chief or the Guest Editor for the final decision-making (on acceptance or rejection of a manuscript). Rejected manuscripts are generally not reconsidered again. After acceptance of an article for publication, the in-house editorial staff will organize the production of the paper, which entails copyediting, English editing and final production in preparation for publication on the Internet. All journals are structured in yearly volumes and either monthly or quarterly issues. Nevertheless, articles will be published online right after their acceptance and production to allow for an immediate dissemination.

Editor-in-Chief Responsibilities

The Editor-in-Chief is the head of the journal, and is mainly responsible for the scientific quality of the journal. Unlike other Publishers, MDPI does not need the Editor-in-Chief to be actively involved in the editorial process, i.e. the MDPI editorial team in Basel and Beijing will take care of the whole editorial process. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for assisting the Editorial Office in the management of the journal, which entails:

  • scientific decisions about the journal's scope,
  • inviting distinguished scientists to join the editorial board,
  • suggesting topics for special issues,
  • assisting the Guest Editors in the setup of special issues,
  • overviewing the editorial process for individual manuscripts (mainly by taking the final decision whether a paper can be published after peer-review and revisions).

The Editor-in-Chief position is honorary. As a reward for the efforts, the Editor-in-Chief can publish one or two papers per year free of charge in any of MDPI’s open access journals. The initial term for the Editor-in-Chief position is two years and can be renewed.

Editorial Board Member Responsibilities

An Editorial Board member will be asked to review one or two manuscripts per year and may help to edit a special issue on a topic related to his or her research interests. Additionally, the Editorial Board members will be approached for input or feedback regarding new regulations relating to the journal from time to time. Editorial Board members are also encouraged to help to promote the journal among their peers or at conferences. The communication with Editorial Board members is done primarily by E-mail. The initial term for an Editorial Board membership is two years and can be renewed. An Editorial Board member may also step down from the position at any time if he or she feels overloaded by the requests from the journal’s Editorial Office.

Guest Editor Responsibility / Guest Editing a Special Issue

We appreciate collaborations with scholars all over the world. Special issues are normally edited by a Guest Editor who suggests a hot topic and approaches colleagues from the same research field to contribute an article to the special issue. We aim for about ten articles published per special issue. Each special issue is described on the journal’s website. The Guest Editor works together with the Editorial Office to prepare this description and may provide information on the topic (e.g. an introduction for potential contributors and keywords). Authors that have questions regarding a special issue may contact the Editorial Office (and may be redirected to the Guest Editor). A Guest Editor will usually also be allowed to invite up to five authors to publish an article free of charge each (depending on the journal’s policy). Often the Guest Editor will write an editorial paper for the special issue. Editorials are submitted according to the same procedure as other papers, and reviewed by the Publishers and/or the Editor-in-Chief. The Guest Editor’s main task is to make decisions on the acceptance of manuscripts submitted to his or her special issue. The Guest Editor is also expected to respond within a few working days on any question sent by the Editorial Office so that manuscripts can be processed in a timely fashion. If a Guest Editor does not respond to the Editorial Office, the latter may decide to let the Publishers or Editor-in-Chief take the decision. Papers that belong to a special issue are published online continuously after acceptance together with all articles published at www.mdpi.com. In addition, articles belonging to the same special issue will be linked together on a separate special issue website (i.e. the special issue does not appear as a series of subsequent articles, rather articles are published immediately and collected together on the special issue website).

Launching New Open Access Journals with MDPI

MDPI always welcomes suggestions for new journals in any research area. We are also open for publishing collaborations with research societies. Please send your publishing proposals to the Publishers, Dr. Shu-Kun Lin (E-mail: lin@mdpi.com) with a copy to Dietrich Rordorf (E-mail: rordorf@mdpi.com).

Comments and Questions

Please direct your general questions by E-mail to support@mdpi.com. For specific enquiries about a journal, please e-mail the appropriate journal’s Editorial Office directly (please check the journal websites at www.mdpi.com for the e-mail addresses). For a list of MDPI offices, addresses and phone numbers, please see www.mdpi.com/about/contact/.


Last updated: 17 April 2013

Author: Dietrich Rordorf, E-mail: rordorf@mdpi.com
(The first version of this document was kindly written by Dr. Peter Harremoës, former Editor-in-Chief of Entropy.)