MDPI and Open Access

MDPI’s journals are Open Access journals. This means three primary things:

  • everyone has free and unlimited access to the full text of all articles published in MDPI journals;
  • everyone is free to re-use the published material if proper accreditation/citation of the original publication is given;
  • Open Access publication is supported by the authors’ institutes or research funding agencies by payment of a comparatively low article processing charge (APC) for accepted articles.

Why Open Access?

One of MDPI’s core principles is the rapid and free dissemination of knowledge. Some have claimed that research findings made with public money should belong to the public. We believe that research and results should be available to anyone who wants access to that information. And this aligns with the ideas of Open Access.

There are some key advantages as well beyond this.

First of all, Open Access content has high availability and visibility. Without research being gated, or stuck behind a paywall, it is freely accessible for review and reference. Readers, be they researchers or the media, do not bear the burden of costs. Benefits exist further to this, such as removing ambiguity about citations and speeding up the overall pace of research.

This, in turn, allows articles to be seen and referenced more easily, allowing increased visibility and citations.

MDPI’s articles are consistently referenced by major publications, from the New York Times, to CNN, to National Geographic, and more.

What MDPI is talking about when they say Open Access

In accordance with major definitions of Open Access in scientific literature (namely the Budapest, Berlin, and Bethesda declarations), MDPI defines Open Access by the following conditions:

  • peer-reviewed literature is freely available without subscription or price barriers,
  • literature is immediately released in open access format (no embargo period), and
  • published material can be re-used without obtaining permission as long as a correct citation to the original publication is given.

MDPI believes that Open Access publishing fosters the exchange of research results, facilitating interdisciplinary research. Open Access publishing also provides access to research results to researchers around the globe, including those from developing countries. In particular, areas of the world like the Global South benefit extensively from having these barriers to access removed.

Is Open Access more readily accepted now?

Without question. While there was initially some opposition to and criticism of Open Access as a concept (and some of those same criticisms remain in use), the growth and prevalence of OA in science literature is indisputable. In early 2023, for example, MDPI published its one-millionth paper. From an article written to celebrate this, Nat Kelly wrote,

The need for the open access model is becoming more and more evident, with viruses, climate change, etc., demanding collaborative and individual action. The US recently announced that, as of 2026, all federally funded research will be made publicly available, stating that “openness in science is fundamental”. The research of Horizon Europe, an EU research initiative, and its predecessor has also been made available through Open Research Europe.

As governments and institutions across the world are increasingly mandating Open Access, it has become clear that there is a push for science to be made more available to everyone, and that OA is one of the best ways to do this.

Outpacing traditional publishing methods

2020 was a banner year for Open Access in general, as it was the first year where OA publishing outperformed subscription-based publishing. This remarkable milestone serves as reminder that OA’s potential only continues to grow.

Part of MDPI’s growth and success has been related to the fact that it was an early adopter of OA. In fact, MDPI has been an Open Access journal since before the term “Open Access” was even coined.

What is the future of Open Access and MDPI?

MDPI is always looking for new ways to expand science and Open Access. Through its many initiatives, partnerships, and programs like the Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP), MDPI will remain at the forefront of Open Access. Programs like the IOAP aim to lessen financial burdens on authors by partnering with institutions to make OA more accessible to all.

For MDPI, Preprints are one of those developments. While some issues that remain, such as they have in the past been misunderstood as being completed peer-reviewed papers, these are issues that can be resolved moving forward by expanding our efforts to educate people about what Preprints are (and what they are not). MDPI believes that these are an important part of increasing the potential of Open Access.

Making research available sooner can be invaluable to scientists and researchers around the world, especially when addressing issues of global significance. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, saw an incredible global effort to disseminate knowledge and research about the virus which led to vaccines being produced quickly.

In addition to this, MDPI’s Societies Initiative is another way in which the company aims to help organizations and societies around the world to transition to this new publication model. Presently, more than 180 learned societies and organizations, ranging from affiliations to publishing journals on behalf of the society, take part in this initiative.

Learn more about Open Access and MDPI

To learn more about MDPI’s Open Access policy, we encourage interested readers to visit the website.