MDPI supports scientific communities

MDPI Supports Scientific Communities

As a pioneer and the largest Open Access publisher in the world, MDPI supports scientific communities in diverse ways. This stems from our dedication to accessibility, transparency, and collaboration.

Fostering a community mindset

International Open Access Week 2023 encourages us to think about the opportunities offered by community-controlled infrastructure versus more commercial enterprises.

What options for using community-controlled infrastructure already exist that might better serve the interests of the research community and the public (such as preprint servers, repositories, and open publishing platforms)?

Moreover, how can scarce institutional resources be used most efficiently for the greatest public benefit?

A key part of our commitment to Open Access is not just making research accessible to read but also to produce. In 2022, MDPI became the first Open Access publisher to publish 1 million papers. We achieved this milestone by ensuring researchers have all the support they need.

Here, we’ll explore how MDPI supports scientific communities through discounts, awards, and Special Issues.


One way that MDPI helps is by offering waivers and discount on the article processing charges (APCs).

On average, our journals waive 30‒40% of the original APCs of the articles we publish each year, enabling researchers to publish Open Access whilst prioritising their budget for research priorities. This ranges from 15% in our most established journals up to 100% in our new or humanities journals.

Discounts are part of our commitment to ensuring there are diverse pathways to Open Access publishing for researchers worldwide. We recognise that academics come from a range of backgrounds, and we want to celebrate this in what we publish.

As such, we offer discounts and waivers on a case-by-case basis for authors from low- and middle-income countries.

Institutional Open Access Program

We offer special discounts for members of societies affiliated with MDPI journals, and for institutions that are part of our Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP).

We recognise how integral the people establishing Open Access policies, maintaining institutional repositories, and producing scholarly communication are. As such, the IOAP helps us build relationships with these key players. We offer them various services that help reduce their administrative workloads.

Moreover, authors affiliated with participating universities receive up to one IOAP discount on the APC for any paper published in an MDPI journal and a 10% discount on the Book Processing Charges for MDPI Books. See the full list of affiliated institutions here.


Awards are an excellent way to reward the academic community, especially younger researchers. It helps raise their influence, highlighting their outstanding achievements and contributions, and boost communication between scientists.

Accordingly, MDPI offers a wide range of awards to researchers, typically on a journal-by-journal basis. These include the Best Paper, Best PhD Thesis, Travel, Outstanding Reviewer, Early Career Investigator, and Young Investigator Awards, among others.

Overall, we have granted over 2000 awards. In 2022 alone, we awarded over $1 million in recognition and support of researchers worldwide. This is an important part of how MDPI supports scientific communities because we want to ensure vital research is funded and receives the attention it deserves.

Early career researchers

Young researchers face various challenges, including gaining confidence and experience whilst facing pressures financially and from the highly competitive nature of academia. Therefore, it’s important to recognise them and their work, and to provide support early on in their careers.

Young researchers represent the next generation of scientists. Their fresh outlooks will help provide innovative solutions and perspectives. MDPI journals offer two awards to young researchers: the Young Investigator Award and the Early Career Investigator Award.

Generally, these awards provide winners with an official certificate, CHF 1000, and the option to publish two papers after peer review with 50% discounts. Researchers are nominated by a recommendation letter, and do not have to be published with MDPI to be eligible.

Rules vary, and so do the additional prizes. For example, the Viruses 2022 Early Career Investigator Award invited winners to speak at conferences. Conferences are great places for discussion and debate and provide access to research communities and leading academics.

Awards are a vital part of how MDPI supports scientific communities by recognising outstanding work and ensuring it’s visible.

Sustainability Foundation

Sustainability is a key value for MDPI, and one way we celebrate it is through the World Sustainability Award. Winners must have produced an outstanding achievement based on strong pure or applied research in any appropriate discipline, addressing at least two sustainability pillars and aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2023 winner was Professor Michael Templeton, whom we interviewed. His work in designing and promoting safe, sustainable, and affordable sanitation solutions has helped improve water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities worldwide. He’s collaborated across disciplines and engaged with a range of stakeholders and communities, guiding national and global policies related to sanitation management.

When asked about the drive behind his work, he explained how “I’ve always been interested in engineering not just for its technical aspects but also for its ‘power for good’, for society and the planet, if it’s directed towards solving global challenges.”

Prof Templeton and the two runners up were awarded a total of $100,000 to reward and enhance their vital work in sustainability.

Special Issues

Special Issues are collections of papers centred around a subject of special interest and are organised and led by subject experts who take on the role of Guest Editor. Guest Editing provides a unique opportunity for networking and engaging in meaningful communication with fellow scholars in their field.

Furthermore, Special Issues (SIs) boast a range of benefits for authors who submit to them:

  • Greater discoverability: More frequent citations and connectedness with other articles in the collection.
  • Ease of navigation: Scholars interested in the topics can access them easily.
  • External promotion: SIs receive promotion through journals’ social media channels, increasing visibility and readership.
  • Expand your research network: SIs are a place to find collaborators publishing similar research.
  • E-Books: SIs with more than ten articles have the opportunity to be published as an E-book.

Click here to learn more about Special Issues. Look on the journal homepages you are interested in for Issues related to your field.

Open Access publisher MDPI supports scientific communities

MDPI is a trusted partner that supports scientific communities and institutions in various ways.

We believe in building a global research community where both accessing and producing research is free and open. Click here if you’d like to learn more about our mission and values.

MDPI supports scientific communities by offering simple and flexible options for researchers. As we’ve discussed, MDPI offers discounts, awards, and opportunities such as Special Issues for researchers to publish in Open Access.

If you’re interested in reading more about how MDPI is celebrating Open Access Week 2023, see our article “Open Access Week 2023 – the Global Drive to Open Continues”.

We’re dedicated to giving you all the information you need to understand Open Access. Click here for our article, All You Need to Know About Open Access, which covers a range of topics that can help boost your understanding and also keep you up to date.