Q&A I: Authors, Submission and Peer-Review

We always enjoy opportunities to get direct face-to-face feedback from authors and readers, and the recent open access week was an excellent opportunity. We were asked a number of interesting questions that we thought would merit a wider audience. This post kicks off a short series including a selection of the best questions. We are always happy to receive feedback and answer any questions authors or readers might have about MDPI’s editorial process. You can now give us feedback at any point via https://www.mdpi.com/feedback/send.  The following covers questions about authors, submission and peer-review.


Q. What is the purpose of recommending reviewers when submitting a manuscript? Will excluded reviewers be invited during the peer-review process?

A. Authors are experts in the field, so are aware of suitable potential reviewers and can make excellent recommendations. However, we carry out a thorough check on all reviewers—recommended by authors or otherwise—including that the email address provided is a valid one. We reserve the right to invite excluded reviewers, however we will respect the authors’ choice wherever possible and only invite them in very exceptional circumstances.


Q. Is there any difference between reports from reviewers recommended by the authors and reviewers recommended by MDPI internal editor?

A. The reports are treated the same, however we always try to obtain at least one review report from a reviewer not recommended by the authors.


Q. Can authors access a review report as soon as it is received, before a decision is made?

A. To save the efforts of authors we only provide review reports after receiving all reports and making a decision. It may be that a review report is deemed unsuitable or that the paper is directly rejected, in which case the authors may have started to respond to a report unnecessarily. The assistant editor handling the paper will also check for comments that disclose the reviewers’ identity before sending the review to authors.


Q. Can reviewers see the comments of other reviewers?

A. Yes, but only after they have submitted their report. Any reviewer can also choose to hide their comments from other reviewers, however the majority don’t take this option.


Q. How do you deal with conflicting review reports, one which says the English is fine and another that says extensive English editing is required?

A. MDPI carries out English editing of all accepted manuscripts during the production process. In a small number of cases we charge an additional fee for extensive English editing (you can see full details at https://www.mdpi.com/about/apc). If you are unsure, please contact the assistant editor handling your manuscript who will be able to advise whether your paper will be charged and can ask our English editing department for an expert opinion.


Q. How do you set the APC of a journal?

A. We aim for all of our journals to cover their costs. However, we recognize that authors are not willing to pay as much for new journals and find difficulty in raising funds in certain fields, such as social sciences and humanities. Therefore, we set a price that balances the cost of maintaining the journal, the editorial process and production against the ability and willingness of authors to pay. Our aim is to offer authors value for money, and our revenue per paper is substantially lower than that of traditional, subscription-based publishers.

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