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2 May 2024
MDPI Insights: The CEO's Letter #11 – 2023 Annual Report, MDPI Awards, STM

Welcome to the MDPI Insights: The CEO's Letter.

In these monthly letters, I will showcase two key aspects of our work at MDPI: our commitment to empowering researchers and our determination to facilitating open scientific exchange.

Opening Thoughts

2023 Annual Report

This is an exciting time of year at MDPI, as we have just released our annual report 2023, recapping the past year and sharing the progress and changes that took place during it.

Stefan Tochev (CEO, MDPI)

Reflecting on 2023, I can't help but think of the changes that have occurred not only at MDPI but also within our industry as a whole. In light of this, I’m reminded that change is the only constant, and that for a publishing enterprise that has experienced rapid growth, adapting to change becomes not only a necessity but also a catalyst for sustained success.

Looking back on the significant ground we covered in 2023, I am pleased to report that the year was marked by a rise in paper submissions, along with a range of initiatives aimed at improving our internal processes and delivering top services to our scientists.

2023 Top-line MDPI Numbers

An important priority for 2023 was to strengthen our editorial policies. Despite a notable increase in the number of papers submitted from 603,000 to 655,000 (+8.6%), there was a decrease in the number of papers published from 303,000 to 285,000 (-5.9%), consistent with the overall trend in the scholarly publishing market. MDPI’s market share in gold open access articles published reached 17% in 2023 (according to Dimensions data).

2023 Open Access Numbers

For over two decades, MDPI has been at the forefront of reshaping the academic publishing landscape, with OA surpassing subscription-based publishing in 2020. This trajectory is deeply rooted in our history and reflects our unwavering commitment to, and vision for, an open future. This momentum continued in 2023, with 39% of the 4.16 million articles and reviews published as gold full-OA, 15% as gold hybrid-OA, 8% as bronze-OA, and 3% as green-OA, relative to 35% behind a paywall. In terms of gold OA (full or hybrid) articles and reviews published, MDPI leads the way in terms of total articles published in 2023.

MDPI is the trusted and preferred OA publisher for the scholarly community

However, in 2023, we saw a downward trend in publication numbers compared to 2022. This trend was also seen in total OA publications. While the number of submissions increased, the decline in MDPI publications can be attributed to several factors, such as improved scrutiny in our peer-review process, including the evaluation of content scope and higher rejection rates, and a post-pandemic decrease in research related to COVID-19 papers.

Download 2023 MDPI Annual Report.
Access 2023 Digital Report.

Impactful Research

Recognizing Scholars – MDPI Awards

MDPI is committed to empowering young researchers as they embark on their careers. In 2023, our journals hosted a total of 400 awards, receiving 8,839 applications and nominations. The evaluation committees selected 959 winners, with the total budget for these awards amounting to CHF 546,500.

For more information about MDPI awards, applications, and winners, please click here

The following awards recognize scholars and the impact of their research, including Young Investigator Awards, Best PhD Thesis Awards, and Travel Awards for junior researchers.

MDPI Awards – The following awards require an application or a nomination.

Young Investigator Award (CHF 1000–2000 for each winner)
This award acknowledges the achievements of young investigators in research areas relevant to the journal’s scope. Candidates must have received their PhD no more than 10 years prior to the award announcement date and must be nominated.

Best PhD Thesis Award (CHF 500–800 for each winner)
This award recognizes young scholars who have completed outstanding PhD theses in research areas relevant to the journal’s scope. It aims to encourage them to continue their excellent work and make further contributions to their field.

Travel Award (CHF 500–800 for each winner)
This award encourages junior scientists to present their latest research at academic conferences relevant to the journal’s scope, thereby increasing their impact.

Distinguished Scholars
Additionally, 220 awards were granted to the most distinguished authors and reviewers in our journals through Best Paper Awards and Outstanding Reviewer Awards. The following awards are selected by the editorial staff of the journal and do not require an application or a nomination. They exemplify the excellent contributions made by our authors, reviewers, and editors.

These awards exemplify the excellent contributions made by our authors, reviewers, and editors

Best Paper Award (CHF 200–500 for each winner)
This award is granted annually to highlight publications of high quality, scientific significance, and extensive influence.

Outstanding Reviewer Award (CHF 500 for partial winners)
This award is given annually to recognize reviewers who generously contribute their time to reviewing papers and demonstrate thoroughness, professionalism, and timeliness in their reviews.

MDPI also offers awards for specific topics in various research fields:

Carbon Neutrality Award (CHF 500–800 for each winner)
Sponsored by MDPI journal Sustainability, this award recognizes applicants who have made exceptional academic or societal contributions to carbon neutrality, either in general or in relation to a specific carbon-neutrality-related issue.

Intelligent Manufacturing Award (CHF 500–800 for each winner)
Administered by MDPI journal Machines, this award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding academic or societal contributions to the field of intelligent manufacturing.

Granted: World Sustainability Awards

Inside MDPI

MDPI Opens Office in Seoul, Korea and Appoints Claude Seo as Office Manager

As CEO of the world’s leading OA publisher, I am pleased to announce the official opening of our Korean branch office. With this addition, MDPI now operates 21 offices in 12 countries worldwide, improving on our position as a truly global publisher. This expansion represents more than just an increase in our physical footprint; it is a pivotal step in our ongoing commitment to making scientific knowledge more accessible across the globe.

MDPI now operates 21 offices in 12 countries worldwide, improving on our position as a truly global publisher

Claude Seo (MDPI Korea Office Manager, Seoul)

Claude Seo, who has over 15 years of experience in the academic publishing industry, has been appointed as the Office Manager of the Seoul office. The launch of our Seoul office allows us to better support the Korean scientific community and to further promote the publication of OA journals in the region.

Reflecting on his role, Claude shared that he is:

“Delighted to have been entrusted with this position within MDPI, the no. 1 scholarly OA publisher. As we establish our presence in Korea, we are dedicated to integrating ourselves into the local community and contributing to its vibrant culture. Our commitment goes beyond business growth; it is about creating a more informed and innovative society by embracing and promoting diversity within the scientific community.”

Sungkyunkwan University Joins MDPI’s Institutional Open Access Program

Additionally, I am pleased to share that Sungkyunkwan University has joined MDPI’s Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP). This program offers free access to MDP’s online submission system for institutions and provides APC discounts to affiliated authors. Thirteen major Korean universities, including Sungkyunkwan University, Kyunghee University, Chung-Ang University, and the Catholic University of Korea, have adopted IOAP in Korea.

Learn more about MDPI’s collaboration in Korea in my previous CEO Letter, in which I recap our visit to Seoul, South Korea.

Coming Together for Science

4th MMCS: Harnessing the Power of New Drug Modalities

Our conference team successfully managed the 4th Molecules Medicinal Chemistry Symposium, held from 24–26 April in Barcelona, Spain. It was chaired by Prof. Dr. Diego Muñoz-Torrero from the Institute of Biomedicine (IBUB), University of Barcelona, Spain, and Prof. Dr. Simona Collina from the University of Pavia, Italy. In total, there were 84 accepted abstracts and 102 conference attendees from 22 different countries.

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Rino Ragno (Scientific Committee), Dr. Maria Emilia Sousa (Scientific Committee), Prof. Dr. Claudio Viegas Jr. (Scientific Committee), Prof. Dr. Simona Collina (Chair), Prof. Dr. Diego Muñoz-Torrero (Chair), Alvina Wu (Managing Editor, MDPI), Prof. Dr. Roman Dembinski (Scientific Committee), Prof. Dr. Mariana Spetea (Scientific Committee).

The event comprised 12 Invited Speakers, 35 Selected Talks, 10 Flash Poster Presentations, and 39 Posters. The overarching topic of the conference was the impact of the emergence of new drug modalities on drug discovery, with thematic sessions covering topics such as photoactivatable drugs, candidates targeting RNA and epigenetic targets, covalent modifiers, and the development of new anti-cancer agents, among other medicinal chemistry projects.

We are pleased to have received feedback from attendees highlighting the professional approach of the conference chairs and participants, the high quality of the talks, and the overall outstanding organization on the part of the MDPI conference team.

Thank you to the conference sponsors, Fluorochem and IBUB, and to our partnering societies, The Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SEBBM), and the Spanish Society of Medicinal Chemistry (SEQT).

Upcoming In-Person Event

28–31 May, 2024
Polymers 2024 – Polymers for a Safe and Sustainable Future
Athens, Greece
Conference Chairs: Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Bikiaris, Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Triantafyllidis, Dr. Ioanna Deligkiozi
We look forward to welcoming experts Prof. Damià Barceló, Prof. Minna Hakkareinen, and Prof. Armando J. D. Silvestre to this event.

Find more upcoming MDPI events here.

Organize Your Event with MDPI’s Sciforum

Sciforum is MDPI’s platform dedicated to the organization of scientific events. In line with our mission to promote science, Sciforum supports scholars, societies, research networks, and universities at all stages of organizing in-person events, virtual events and webinars. Our platforms are efficient, user-friendly, and cost-effective. We handle all steps related to event management. Contact us for details.

Closing Thoughts

A Report from the Future – STM US Annual Conference 2024

Stefan Tochev (CEO, MDPI), Dr. Giulia Stefenelli and Dr. Ioana Craciun from MDPI’s Scientific Office Board.

MDPI has for a long time been a sponsor of the STM Annual Conferences, held yearly in the US and Frankfurt, and is a trusted partner and supporter of the STM organization. While I have attended the Frankfurt conference for the past three years, this was my first time visiting the Washington, DC session, and I am glad I did.

Although it was a brief trip, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend in the company of my colleagues Dr. Giulia Stefenelli and Dr. Ioana Craciun from MDPI’s Scientific Office Board. They always help map some of the new industry trends against MDPI’s operational framework and guidelines. It’s a great group for kicking ideas back and forth on what we can apply at MDPI.

In my experience, STM never fails to deliver. It’s always a great conference for reconnecting with fellow publishers, industry friends, and vendors. As usual, STM this year curated a diverse range of speakers and panels, who proferred valuable knowledge and insights from outside our industry, delivering thought-provoking insights into our field. An example of this was the ‘Trust Panel’ session, which included Alan Schiffres (Managing Director, InfoLinx), who shared a number of the learnings about fraud and risk management from his 40 years in financial services, to help address some of the challenges we are currently facing in the area of publishing integrity.

Launch of STM Trends 2028 Panel

I particularly enjoyed the ‘Launch of STM Trends 2028 Panel’, which presented a report focused on the integration of humans and machines in scholarly publishing. The session highlighted themes such as AI, digitization, and the evolving research ecosystem. The report envisions a future where technology blurs the lines between human and machine involvement in research processes, with significant implications for trust, reputation, and equity. While this presents opportunities for connectivity and knowledge dissemination, it also poses challenges such as disinformation, fragmentation, and geopolitical tensions. We must rely on a wise combination of technology and human agency to navigate this complex landscape and will have to carefully examine its potential impacts on communication and scholarly publishing.

MDPI has joined the STM Integrity Hub. Click here to learn more.

While every presenter brought their own knowledge and personal touch, I was particularly pleased to encounter new speakers such as Heather Whitney (Research Assistant Professor, Radiology, University of Chicago) and Igor Grossmann (Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Canada). Having studied Sociology at the University of Guelph, I have a soft spot for fellow social scientists from Canada, and I was very impressed by Igor’s presentation on ‘The Social Scientist: A View from the Future’ and his participation in the panel session ‘The Future Beyond the Article,’ which was one of my favourites from the conference, given the diversity of perspectives from the panel speakers.

Memorial Park in Washington, DC

On a personal note, this was my first-time visiting Washington, DC, and I’m glad we took an afternoon to visit the Memorial Park, with its incredible monuments to figures ranging from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Abraham Lincoln. The magnitude of the monuments is deeply impressive. I particularly appreciated the Thomas Jefferson memorial and the following quote, which I think speaks to the importance of change and adaptation. It’s something we can apply not only in our industry but also in our personal lives.

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

– Excerpted from a letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816.

Stefan Tochev
Chief Executive Officer

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