31 January 2024
MDPI Insights: The CEO's Letter #8 - Altmetric and Flat Fee Agreement

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

MDPI and Digital Science Meeting

At MDPI, we are committed to providing our authors with the essential tools to publish, promote, and track their research. In line with this commitment, we have established a longstanding collaboration with Digital Science, a company specializing in research data and analytical insights for the research community. Our collaboration integrates their Altmetric tool, offering us and our authors the ability to track a variety of sources that monitor and report attention surrounding publications.

As part of our collaboration, we recently hosted Cathy Holland, Director of Global Publisher Business Development, and Helen Cooke, Managing Director of Publisher Sales, from Digital Science, at our MDPI headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

Left to right: Facundo Santomé (Senior Marketing Manager, MDPI), Constanze Shelhorn (Indexing Manager, MDPI), Cathy Holland (Director of Global Publisher Business Development, Digital Science), Helen Cooke (Managing Director of Publisher Sales, Digital Science), and Stefan Tochev (CEO, MDPI) in front of MDPI headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

During our meeting, we discussed MDPI’s publishing philosophy and explored further avenues for collaboration. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Digital Science, aiming to improve our services yet further and meet the needs of our authors more closely than ever.

What is Altmetric?

You will notice that MDPI articles feature an Altmetric score, a colourful doughnut capturing the score in the upper right corner of the article page. This score represents ‘alternative metrics,’ as distinct from traditional metrics such as Impact Factor, CiteScore, and Scimago Journal Rank.

Altmetrics complement traditional citation-based metrics by capturing online discussions related to a specific research topic. By analyzing both sets of data, we can obtain a comprehensive understanding of the attention a particular research output receives and the sources in which it is mentioned.

“Almetric provides visual insights into where research is being discussed”

Sources Tracked by Altmetric

Altmetric badge showing the Altmetric score and colour-coded mention sources.

Altmetric monitors various sources, categorizing them into segments such as policy documents, peer reviews, Wikipedia, news and blogs, and social media, among other sources. Each category is identifiable by a specific colour.

The Altmetric badge provides visual insights into where the research is being discussed. A more colourful badge indicates broader mentions across multiple platforms. Such tracking enables us to gauge the extent of an article’s online dissemination, noting that increased visibility may correlate with higher citation rates.

Read more:

Impactful Research

Ten High-Altmetric Articles Published by MDPI

As at 30 January 2024, Altmetric has tracked 670,500 MDPI research outputs from MDPI, resulting in over 4.3 million mentions. This includes over 71,894 mentions in policy and patents and 294,714 mentions in news and blogs, with some achieving an Altmetric score as high as 28,754.

So, what is a good Altmetric score? There are various ways to put this score into context. You can find out more about the score in context and how to evaluate your work by this means.

Here are ten MDPI papers ranking in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric.

“Accuracy in Wrist-Worn, Sensor-Based Measurements of Heart Rate and Energy Expenditure in a Diverse Cohort”

J. Pers. Med. 2017, 7(2), 3;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 253 news stories from 209 outlets including Forbes, BBC, and Fox News.

“Daylight Saving Time and Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Meta-Analysis”

J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(3), 404;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 295 news stories from 207 outlets including Forbes, The Atlantic, and New York Times.

“The Preliminary Analysis of Cave Lion Cubs Panthera spelaea (Goldfuss, 1810) from the Permafrost of Siberia”

Quaternary 2021, 4(3), 24;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 182 news stories from 134 outlets including CBC News, CNN, and National Geographic.

“Not the Cat’s Meow? The Impact of Posing with Cats on Female Perceptions of Male Dateability”

Animals 2020, 10(6), 1007;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 124 news stories from 98 outlets including VICE, CNN and The Guardian.

“Behaviour and Welfare Impacts of Releasing Elephants from Overnight Tethers: A Zimbabwean Case Study”

Animals 2022, 12(15), 1933;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 192 news stories from 186 outlets.

How do I use altmetrics?

Altmetric Explorer provides a detailed step-by-step guide and instruction video for first-time users of the tool. The guide includes useful diagrams that make it easy to get started.

Sharing Research Online

For research to be tracked across different sources, Altmetric needs a research output with a persistent identifier: a DOI, ISBN, PubMed ID, handle ID, etc. When sharing research, it is important to include a link to the original research output.

“An Update on Eukaryotic Viruses Revived from Ancient Permafrost”

Viruses 2023, 15(2), 564;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 250 news stories from 180 outlets including CTV, Fox News, and CNN.

“The Global Problem of Insufficient Sleep and Its Serious Public Health Implications”

Healthcare 2019, 7(1), 1;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 252 news stories from 168 outlets including BBC, Harvard Business Review, and Forbes.

“A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health”

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1212;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 197 news stories from 150 outlets including BBC, The Tribune, and World Economic Forum.

“An Empirical Study of Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Visual Analytics Approach to Public Health”

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 431;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 232 news stories from 149 outlets including Forbes, New York Times, and Harvard Business Review.

“Garden Scraps: Agonistic Interactions between Hedgehogs and Sympatric Mammals in Urban Gardens”

Animals 2023, 13(4), 590;

Altmetric page:

Altmetric shows that this article appeared in 172 news stories from 168 outlets including BBC.

Inside MDPI

MDPI Annual Meeting Celebrations in China

On Thursday 25 January, over 1,300 MDPI colleagues from our two offices in Beijing gathered to kick off MDPI’s traditional ‘Annual Meetings.’ These celebrations take place in MDPI’s offices across China, including Dalian, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Nanjing.

The evenings include performances, informative talks and presentations, awards, and entertainment, providing an ideal platform to recognize our colleagues, celebrate their achievements, and set our sights on the future.

“It is essential that we stay connected and share best practices”

I sent a video congratulating everyone on their work and sharing our vision of building MDPI into the most trusted OA publisher, highlighting the roles each of us has to play in achieving that goal.

Unfortunately I could not join in person, but you may recall my recent trip, when I visited our offices in Beijing and Wuhan, which I look forward to visiting again this year.

Although our headquarters are in Basel, Switzerland, and we are expanding throughout Europe and North America, the majority of MDPI’s workforce is in China and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including offices in Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and newly opened office in South Korea. It is essential that as a global organization, we stay connected and share best practices in order to grow collectively and continue providing the exceptional service to our authors.

The Annual Meeting is a moment to reflect and enjoy the year’s hard work and dedication.

I extend our best wishes to all for the Chinese New Year (Xīnnián kuàilè)!

Coming Together for Science

MDPI and TU Delft Adopt Flat Fee Model in Extended Partnership

We are excited to announce a renewed three-year partnership with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. This collaboration introduces a fixed lump-sum fee, covering publishing costs from 2024 to 2026.

“This initiative reflects our dedication to transparent and inclusive publishing”

TU Delft-affiliated authors will enjoy cost-free publishing in any MDPI journal during this period, aligning with our commitment to removing barriers for open access publishing. The agreement supports Plan S compliance and facilitates a seamless publishing process for TU Delft corresponding authors. This initiative reflects our dedication to transparent and inclusive publishing, providing stability and predictability both for authors and for institutions.

For further details on our Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP), please contact us.

Benefits to MDPI’s IOAP

At MDPI we have a long tradition of partnerships, including our Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP). IOAP supports institutions through simplification, access, transparency, APC discounts, and institutional repository deposits. The program simplifies administrative processes, offers central payment, and allows easy opting in and out. Participants gain free access to Susy, MDPI’s online submission system, with extensive article metadata and exportable data. APC discounts and Book Processing Charge discounts are available for affiliated authors. Automated deposits to institutional repositories and streamlined matching of papers to IOAP participants enhance the overall experience.

For further information, see our IOAP FAQ.

Closing Thoughts

Reflections on the 2024 APE Conference

MDPI was proud to co-sponsor the Academic Publishing in Europe (APE) 2024 Conference that took place in Berlin, Germany, from 9–10 January 2024.

The conference theme, ‘Keep the Conversation Going!’, explored the evolving landscape of scholarly communication. APE is one of the key conferences I make a point to attend each year. January offers a valuable opportunity to engage with new contacts, reconnect with familiar faces, and participate in impactful discussions and presentations among professionals, scholars, and practitioners in the field.

“It's fascinating to see how other publishers are leveraging AI”


Some of the standout panels for me include: the role of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the publishing industry. It was encouraging to hear the current status quo, though I was eager also to learn about the exciting projects planned for 2024 and beyond. These will allow us to track progress in subsequent years. At MDPI, we remain committed to promoting Open–Access (OA) content on SDGs through scientific articles and books. Furthermore, we extend our commitment to sustainability by financially supporting researchers through initiatives such as the World Sustainability Award and the Emerging Sustainability Leader Award, as well as waiving the APC for feature papers on each SDG.

In recent years, discussions on AI have become increasingly prominent at such conferences. It’s fascinating to see how other publishers are leveraging AI to meet the evolving needs of their audiences while at the same time using it to safeguard the scientific process. Other engaging panels that I enjoyed included updates on transformation beyond transformative agreements, the principles of lean change, incentive structures related to research integrity, and the panel on reviewer incentives.

“We can share best practices and lessons learned”

Incorporating MDPI’s Insights into Conferences

I must confess that I sometimes feel overlooked when MDPI is not invited to participate in crucial industry discussions. As the leading open access publisher and the third-largest publisher overall, we possess extensive experience in many of these areas and can offer valuable contributions to these discussions. We can share best practices, lessons learned, and our thinking about future trajectories. For instance, in panels discussing reviewer incentives, at MDPI we offer a discount voucher to reviewers for future submissions, reflecting our commitment to fostering a robust peer review process. In 2022 alone, MDPI collected over 1.4 million peer review reports, informing the decision-making processes of our editors. Given our expertise in these areas, it would be natural to include MDPI in such discussions. I therefore extend an invitation to future conference organizers to consider MDPI for speaking engagements and collaborative opportunities.

Stefan Tochev
Chief Executive Officer

More News...
Back to TopTop