Katherine Bosworth Katherine Bosworth17 November 2021 Journals

The Mystery of J Journal

The names of MDPI’s journals are almost always completely plain and obvious. The International Journal of Molecular Sciences is exactly that—a journal that is international, crossing country boundaries, and which represents the broad range of molecular sciences.

But MDPI also has a journal titled “J”. Yes, that’s right, just one letter. Nothing more.

The monophonemic journal title is something of a mystery, not only among researchers, but also many members of staff here at MDPI.

So, what is J?

The very first editorial was published in 2018. It proposed that the journal would just be called J, for “journal”.

It may seem strange, but having a journal called “journal” emphasises its wide-ranging nature. Absolutely anything could be published in the journal, from “Alternative Approaches to the Search for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatments” to “Good Things in Small Packages? Evaluating an Economy of Scale Approach to Behavioral Health Promotion in Rural America”.

As well as involving papers from a wide range of disciplines, it also includes papers which, in themselves, involve the interconnectivity of several different topics. It therefore represents a space wherein papers covering multiple different disciplines can be published freely and easily.

The papers in J are breaking new ground, in fields and disciplines that haven’t even been defined yet, creating new and innovative categories of research.

Its revolutionary nature was cemented by the fact that papers were “peer-reviewed solely on the basis of scientific soundness and accuracy, without dwelling on the question of significance—for which journal editors are often poor judges.”

Felix Wu, Managing Editor of the journal, described J as “a multidisciplinary journal, with a diversified scope, which means it can include more subjects than normal journals. J can offer more interdisciplinary publications to the research community.”

Never before or since at MDPI has there ever been such a diverse journal. In this way, it represented a significant notion in open access publishing that still has the potential to be further explored.

Interestingly though, in 2020, the scope of J was redefined and narrowed to include the following categories:


• Biology and Life Sciences;
• Chemistry and Materials Science;
• Computer Science and Mathematics;
• Engineering;
• Environmental Sciences;
• Earth Sciences;
• Medicine and Pharmacology;
• Physical Sciences;
• Public Health and Healthcare.


But although the scope has been adjusted, its reach is still exceedingly wide, and the name “J” still complements its variability.