Publisher MDPI lies to prospective authors
The publisher MDPI is a spammer and lies.
If you upload a paper draft to arXiv, MDPI will send spam to the authors to solicit submission. Within minutes of an upload I received the following email (sent by MDPI staff, not some overly eager new editor):
We read your recent manuscript "[...]" on arXiv, and sincerely invite you to submit it to our journal Future Internet, if it has not been published or submitted elsewhere. Future Internet (ISSN 1999-5903, indexed by Scopus, Ei compendex, *ESCI*-Web of Science) is a journal on Internet technologies and the information society. It maintains a rigorous and fast peer review system with a median publication time of 35 days from submission to online publication, and 3 days from acceptance to publication. The journal scope is shown here: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/futureinternet/about. Editorial Board: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/futureinternet/editors. Since Future Internet is an open access journal there is a publication fee. Your paper will be published, with a 20% discount (amounting to 200 CHF), and provided that it is accepted after our standard peer-review procedure.
First of all, the email begins with a lie. Because this paper clearly states that it is submitted elsewhere. Also, it fits other journals much better, and if they had read even just the abstract, they would have known.
This is predatory behavior by MDPI. Clearly, it is just about getting as many submissions as possible. The journal charges 1000 CHF (next year, 1400 CHF) to publish the papers. Its about the money.
Also, there have been reports that MDPI ignores the reviews, and always publishes even when reviewers recommended rejection…
The reviewer requests I have received from MDPI came with unreasonable deadlines, which will not allow for a thorough peer review. Hence I asked to not ever be emailed by them again. I must assume that many other qualified reviewers do the same. MDPI boasts in their 2019 annual report a median time to first decision of 19 days – in my discipline the typical time window to ask for reviews is at least a month (for shorter conference papers, not full journal articles), because professors tend to have lots of other duties, hence they need more flexibility. Above paper has been submitted in March, and is now under review for 4 months already. This is an annoying long time window, and I would appreciate if this were less, but it shows how extremely short the MDPI time frame is. They also claim 269.1k submissions and 106.2k published papers, so the acceptance rate is around 40% on average, and assuming that there are some journals with higher standards there then some must have acceptance rates much higher than this. I’d assume that many reputable journals have 40% desk-rejection rate for papers that are not even on-topic …
The average cost to authors is given as 1144 CHF (after discounts, 25% waived feeds etc.), so they, so we are talking about 120 million CHF of revenue from authors. Is that what you want academic publishing to be?
I am not happy with some of the established publishers such as Elsevier that also overcharge universities heavily. I do think we need to change academic publishing, and arXiv is a big improvement here. But I do not respect publishers such as MDPI that lie and send spam.