|Type||Aktiengesellschaft (publicly held corporation)|
|Industry||Open access journals, Chemical library|
|Key people||Shu-Kun Lin, Dietrich Rordorf|
MDPI is an acronym shared by two related organizations mainly operating from China, but with de jure headquarters in Basel (Switzerland): Molecular Diversity Preservation International, an organization whose stated aim is to "preserve chemical samples for research," and MDPI AG (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute), a publisher of open-access journals. It is considered a predatory open access publishing company publishing journals of dubious quality by Jeffrey Beall.
Molecular Diversity Preservation International
Molecular Diversity Preservation International was founded and registered as a non-profit association (Verein) by Shu-Kun Lin and Benoit R. Turin in Basel in 1996 to enable the deposit and exchange of rare molecular and biomolecular research samples. The goal was to preserve the diversity of chemical compounds through the collection and storage of samples that could be made available to the scientific community for research purposes. This collection of samples was permanently transferred to the MDPI Sustainability Foundation in 2013, and Molecular Diversity Preservation International was dissolved. The collection of chemical samples is now operated by Molmall Sarl on behalf of the MDPI Sustainability Foundation.
The journal Molecules was established in 1996 in collaboration with Springer-Verlag (now Springer Science+Business Media) in order to document the chemical samples of the MDPI collection. Several other journals were established by the MDPI Verein, including Entropy, the International Journal of Molecular Sciences and Sensors. The publisher MDPI AG was spun off from MDPI Verein in 2010.
MDPI Verein co-organized several academic conferences, including the International Symposium on Frontiers in Molecular Science. It also runs virtual, electronic conferences, such as the Electronic Conference on Synthetic Organic Chemistry, which was started in 1997. In 2010 MDPI launched the platform Sciforum to host electronic conferences.
MDPI AG (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)
MDPI AG, a publisher of open-access journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains three offshore editorial offices in China. MDPI relies primarily on article processing charges to cover the costs of editorial quality control and production of articles. Over forty universities or institutes in Europe and the United States have joined the MDPI Institutional Membership Program, set up in the fourth quarter of 2013; authors from these organizations pay reduced article processing charges.
MDPI currently publishes more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific journals. As of September 2014, 24 have obtained an impact factor and 19 life science-related journals are archived in PubMed Central. All articles published by MDPI since 2008 are released under the CC-BY Creative Commons license and are archived with the Swiss National Library.
In December 2011, the MDPI journal Life published Erik D. Andrulis' theoretical paper, Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life, aiming at presenting a framework to explain life. It attracted coverage by the popular science and technology magazines Ars Technica and Popular Science, which characterized it as "crazy" and "hilarious". A member of the editorial board of Life resigned in response. Publisher Lin defended the journal's editorial process, saying that the paper had been revised following lengthy reviews by two faculty members from institutions different from the author's.
In 2013, another MDPI journal, Entropy, published a review paper claiming glyphosate may be the most important factor in the development of obesity, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and infertility. The paper itself does not contain any primary research results. It was criticized as pseudo-science by the popular science magazine Discover.
MDPI has published a statement in December 2013 as a response and defense on publishing controversial papers.
Inclusion in Beall's list
Jeffrey Beall added MDPI to his list of Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers in February 2014, based on his concerns that "MDPI's warehouse journals contain hundreds of lightly-reviewed articles that are mainly written and published for promotion and tenure purposes rather than to communicate science." Chemist Peter Murray-Rust, an editorial board member of the yet to be started MDPI journal Data, criticized Beall's critique of MDPI as being "irresponsible" and lacking evidence. MDPI characterized Beall's comments as "an incompetent general critique" and alleged that the inclusion of MDPI on his list was motivated by a hostility towards open access publishing in general, as expressed in a recent commentary published by Beall. Fang Zhouzi, co-recipient of the 2012 John Maddox Prize, accused Beall of lacking "integrity" and "professionalism" (see Fang Zhouzi#MDPI for potential conflicts of interest).
The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), investigated Beall`s allegations against MDPI and published its conclusions in April 2014, stating that "Based on our findings we feel satisfied that MDPI continue to meet the OASPA Membership Criteria".
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- "Molecular Diversity Preservation International". Retrieved 2014-03-17. Home page
- Jeffrey Beall (18 February 2014), Chinese Publisher MDPI Added to List of Questionable Publishers, Scholarly Open Access: Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing
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- "Chemical Museum and Samples Exchange". Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- "MolMall About us". MolMall. 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
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- Andrulis, Erik D. (2011). "Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life". Life 2 (1): 1–105. doi:10.3390/life2010001.
- Timmer, John. "How the craziest f#@!ing "theory of everything" got published and promoted". Ars Technica. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Nosowitz, Dan. "Hilarious "Theory of Everything" Paper Provokes Kerfuffle". Popular Science. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Zimmer, Carl. "Life turned upside down". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Lin, Shu-Kun (2012). "Publication of Controversial Papers in Life". Life 2 (1): 213–214. doi:10.3390/life2010213.
- Samsel, Anthony; Stephanie Seneff. "Glyphosate's Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases". Entropy. doi:10.3390/e15041416.
- Kloor, Keith. "When Media Uncritically Cover Pseudoscience". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "Controversial Articles". MDPI. December 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Open access critic has major publisher in crosshairs". eCampusNews. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Chinese Publisher MDPI Added to List of Questionable Publishers". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Data — Editors". Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- Murray-Rust, Peter (2014-02-18). "Beall’s criticism of MDPI lacks evidence and is irresponsible".
- "Response to Mr. Jeffrey Beall's Repeated Attacks on MDPI". MDPI. February 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- Beall, Jeffrey (2013). "The Open-Access Movement is Not Really about Open Access". tripleC 11 (2): 589–597.
- Fang, Zhouzi. "再揭奇怪的美国大学图书馆员". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Conclusions from OASPA Membership Committee Investigation into MDPI". Retrieved 14 April 2014.
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