Converting your Society Journal to Open Access

Societies are vital to academic research, historically extending and solidifying connections across institutions and disciplines. Often, their journals are their primary outlets for academic communication. It can be easy to understand why societies may want to transition their subscription or hybrid society journals to Open Access, given that it usually aligns well with their mission and that Open Access increases visibility and citations. However, converting a journal to Open Access can be challenging for societies that are highly dependent on subscription revenues to sustain their activities. Establishing a balance between mission, money, and membership is where MDPI can help.

Here, we will introduce you to our partnership services, why you should choose MDPI as your next publishing partner, and the successes of journals and societies that we have already partnered with.


MDPI is interested in supporting societies aiming to switch over their journal to an Open Access model or to continue publishing their journal Open Access but with a leading publishing partner. Our more than 25 years of experience in Open Access and 10+ years in publishing society journals make us experts in the field. We already collaborate with over 180 societies and associations at different levels.

From day one, your authors will retain their rights and we will publish all the articles online as soon as they are accepted after peer review, with no embargoes. We are fully compliant with Plan S, the OSTP Nelson Memo, and other funding mandates. We signed the DORA and we adhere to COPE and to all broadly accepted editorial standards.

MDPI’s principles

Our high standards are maintained through the unique processes we have in place and our results-oriented company culture. The following principles differentiate us from other publishers:

  • Customer-oriented approach: We handle potentially time-consuming administrative tasks. Our Academic Editors focus solely on editorial decisions and assessing the scientific content.
  • Robust, controlled editorial processes and rapid publication: We operate our own publishing platform and submission system. Across our journals, the 2022 median time from submission to online publication (final version) was 5‒6 weeks.
  • Reinvestment of profit: We aim to continually improve the services we offer, from hiring staff to offering scholar initiatives (free at the point of use in many cases) and allocating marketing budgets for the journals.
  • Long-standing experience, pioneer in Open Access, and results-oriented approach: We are one of the oldest and most experienced Open Access publishers. We cover all fields of scholarly research. As of 2023, we became the first publisher to achieve the milestone of 1 million Open Access articles.

By joining our efforts, we are confident that we can find ways to help you to implement change. Whether you are a long-time supporter or a newly joined member of the Open Access community seeking to build a more accessible and inclusive research culture, we encourage you to join us in leading the way.

What are MDPI’s society partnerships?

MDPI can help you to steadily transition your subscription-based or hybrid journal to gold or diamond Open Access, maintaining a high number of publications, selective peer review process, and robust income.

We will pair you with a field-specific Managing Editor to help the Editor-in-Chief manage the journal. You will also receive regular operation reports, real-time updates on our platform, feedback from market research and competition analyses, and financial reports.

In addition, your journal will feature on our website, which attracts over 465 million page views per year.

Other benefits of partnering with MDPI

Here are some of the other benefits of partnering with MDPI to convert your subscription/hybrid journal to Open Access:

  • Your organisation can retain full ownership of the journal.
  • Long-term preservation of all published articles, including back-issue articles.
  • We can help you to organise conferences and promote them.
  • We provide an extensive range of marketing and promotion services for your journal.
  • We offer tailored publishing agreements.
  • As of 2023, we collaborate with more than 60 indexing and abstracting databases.

Check the Societies page to see even more of the benefits we offer.

Remember that we can also support you with Creating an Open Access Journal for your Society.

Successful Open Access society journals

Among the first society journals to transfer to MDPI from other publishers were Scientia Pharmaceutica and Medicina. We began our collaboration with the Austrian Pharmaceutical Society’s Scientia Pharmaceutica in 2016, following the journal’s history that dates to 1930. The journal has been publishing 30‒70 articles per year since partnering with MDPI, and its citation metrics have been increasing since (see Figure below), with its current Impact Factor (IF) of 2.5.

CiteScore measures 8 indicators that monitor a journal’s citation impact. It essentially captures the average citations of recent articles in a given year.

The Journal Citation Indicator (JCI) measures the citation impact of a journal’s recent publications using a field-normalised calculation. This helps specify the journal’s place in its specific field or discipline.

Interestingly, the percentage variation of the article Altmetrics mean engagement score for Scientia Pharmaceutica improved +87.38% from 2015 to 2016 following the change of publisher and, most importantly, of journal model. MDPI keeps a fair engagement with authors and readers through social media.

We also recently detailed how transitioning to gold Open Access has improved the development of the Medicina journal. As of 2022, Medicina has published 1840 citable items and received more than 10,000 citations.

Other journals partnered with MDPI

The European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education (EJIHPE) was founded by the University Association of Education and Psychology and was first published in 2011. We began collaborating in 2019. Since then, EJIHPE has been indexed in Scopus and PubMed and has more than tripled its output of publications per year. Supporting this is a current Impact Factor of 3.2 in the 2022 JCR release.

The World Electric Vehicle Journal (WEVJ) launched in 2007 and joined the MDPI portfolio of partner journals in 2018. The journal has been indexed in Scopus, Ei Compendex, and the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Web of Science. WEVJ proudly collaborates with the International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (EVS) and manuscript submission is promoted among its attendees.

How our partners recommended our services:

“Thanks to the cooperation with MDPI we have better access to a larger group of foreign reviewers” – Adam Barczyk, EiC of Advances in Respiratory Medicine

“I would like to thank the whole team of MDPI Dermatopathology for your excellent work and to be with me during this amazing adventure. It is also thanks to you and your excellent professional work that we got here” (journal received its first IF) – Gürkan Kaya, EiC of Dermatopathology

Transferring your society journal to MDPI

When considering publishing your journal with MDPI, we will establish email and face-to-face communication channels to ensure we have a good understanding of the current situation and history of the society journal, as well as its institution. Sometimes the selection of the new publisher is organised through a tender process. Upon reaching an agreement, our senior staff will work closely with you to ensure that the publisher transition is implemented smoothly.

So, if you’re interested, please contact the Societies and Acquisition team.