Understanding theIncreasing Market Share of the Academic Publisher “Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute” in the Publication Output of Central and Eastern European Countries: A Case Study of Hungary

As the open access movement has gained widespread popularity in the scientific community, academic publishers have gradually adapted to the new environment. The pioneer open access journals have turned themselves into megajournals, and the subscription-based publishers have established open access branches and have turned subscription-based journals into hybrid ones. Maybe the most dramatic outcome of the open access boom is the market entry of such fast-growing open access publishers as Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). By 2021, in terms of the number of papers published, MDPI has become one of the largest academic publishers worldwide. However, the publisher’s market shares across countries and regions show an uneven pattern. Whereas in such scientific powers as the United States and China, MDPI has remained a relatively small-scale player, it has gained a high market share in Europe, particularly in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. In 2021, 28 percent of the SCI/SSCI papers authored/co-authored by researchers from CEE countries were published in MDPI journals, a share that was as high as the combined share of papers published by Elsevier and Springer Nature, the two largest academic publishers in the world. This paper seeks to find an explanation for the extensively growing share of MDPI in the publication outputs of CEE countries by choosing Hungary as a case study. To do this, by employing data analysis, some unique features of MDPI will be revealed. Then, we will present the results of a questionnaire survey conducted among Hungary-based researchers regarding MDPI and the factors that motivated them to publish in MDPI journals. Our results show that researchers generally consider MDPI journals’ sufficiently prestigious, emphasizing the importance of the inclusion of MDPI journals in Scopus and Web of Science databases and their high ranks and impacts. However, most researchers posit that the quick turnaround time that MDPI journals offer is the top driver of publishing in such journals.

Contemporary China Centre Blog » The Hidden Language Policy of China’s Research Evaluation Reform

“In February, China’s Ministries of Education and of Science and Technology released two documents that reshaped the research landscape: “Some Suggestions on Standardizing the Use of SCI Paper Indexes” and “Some Measures to Eliminate the Bad Orientation of ‘Papers Only’.” Elaborating the academic reform that President Xi has pursued since 2016, they provide the first detailed steps for dramatically reducing the role of the Science Citation Index (SCI) in evaluating Chinese research….

For twenty years, the SCI—a prestige listing of “high impact” scientific journals—controlled the careers of Chinese researchers. It and various derived indices are commonly used for university rankings and research evaluation (the UK, for example, uses SCI-derived data to allocate funding), but China relied on the SCI to an unusual degree. There, quotas for publishing in SCI journals governed hiring and advancement, pay bonuses, and even graduation from doctoral programs. In using the SCI as a “gold standard,” Chinese administrators sought to increase productivity, enhance national prestige, and benchmark the closure of gaps between China’s research sector and cutting-edge work internationally.

To a significant extent, these goals have been met. China has risen rapidly up international rankings, and Chinese research productivity routinely exceeds the world average (Li & Wang, 2019). Since 2016, China has been the world’s largest producer of published research, accounting for over a third of all global activity (Xie & Freeman, 2018, p. 2). …

So why change a winning formula? The Ministries’ announcements have focused on eliminating perverse incentives created by over-reliance on the SCI, which saw researchers prioritizing quantity over quality, nepotistically inflating citation counts, and falling prey to predatory journals. The Chinese government has, accordingly, allocated tens of millions of dollars to initiatives for improving Chinese journal quality and combating corrupt publishing practices. At the same time, commentators have noted the potential cost savings of de-centering SCI metrics….”

Innovative new features launched at ScienceOpen – ScienceOpen Blog

“ScienceOpen has launched a suite of powerful new features on its platform, including filters for Open Access articles and author affiliations. Using state-of-the-art technology, ScienceOpen enriches and exposes the context of research articles for a dynamic, multi-level search and discovery experience.”