I get complaints about Frontiers

frontiers logo

Borderline?

Frontiers is a Lausanne, Switzerland-based scholarly open-access publisher. Owned by Nature Publishing Group, the firm publishes 38 journals, chiefly in the life sciences.

Frontiers does not meet the criteria for inclusion as a predatory publisher, but I regularly receive complaints about its spamming and editorial practices.

I realize that there are probably many people that are satisfied with Frontiers, and that it is likely publishing good science. Still, there is value in sharing others’ experiences with this publisher.

Here are three emails. The first two are parts of emails sent to me; the last one was sent to a Frontiers staff person and later forwarded to me by the sender.

1.

Dear Jeffrey,

I have been asked to be a “review editor” for Frontiers in Interdisciplinary Physics, and open access journal which I see charges a high fee to publish papers.  It is part of the “Frontiers” group that is evidently associated with Nature.

It looks like they have “chief specialty editor”, and “associate editor,” and “review editors,” the latter being essentially glorified reviewers.  My guess is that the other two editors are going to be paid, so it looks a bit like a pyramid scheme, a lá Amway.  The review editors are supposed to help improve the papers, so it seems to be a fee-for-publishing (with help) kind of deal.  (I actually know the chief specialty and associate editor for this journal.)

What do you think about these “Frontiers in…” journals?  I didn’t see them on your list…

[Sender’s name redacted]

2.

Hello:

I’m terribly sorry to bother you, but I cannot find any information about this publisher (http://www.frontiersin.org/) other than what is on their website and a brief Wikipedia article. Apparently, Nature Publishing Group has a controlling stake in the company. Do you or does anyone have a list of good, respectable OA publishers? OA publishers with a working peer review process and quality assessment/control?

I was stung by one of the email spam campaigns soliciting invited reviews and finally came across your website. I saw that the email I’d received had be sent to 100’s or 1000’s of people. I’d actually started working on the review and so was pretty dispirited. After that experience, I’ve become quite hesitant about OA publishing, but I still conceptually like the OA idea.

[Sender’s name redacted]

3.

Dear Dr Brandi,

Thank you so much for your detailed reply. Nevertheless, I confirm that I no longer want to be listed as a potential “associate editor”, nor as a referee. As I said, I receive daily requests for reviews from one of the Frontiers journal. Usually the topic is barely if at all related to my own work. I’ve taken the habit of systematically deleting these messages, so you might as well delete my name from your database.

I would like to mention that I do a lot of pro-bono refereeing and editing for Science, PNAS, etc, so this is certainly not laziness on my part. But I find the Frontiers process inacceptable. What kind of quality science do you expect when you give instructions such as “The submitted article type requires only a short review, which means that it is not obligatory to invite reviewers. It is sufficient that you read this manuscript and perform a light review on it yourself. If you have any comments to the authors, please post those directly in the review forum. Otherwise you may take an acceptance decision on this manuscript directly.”

Sorry for being blunt, but I think that this sort of process means that the Frontiers goal is primarily financial.

With apologies and best wishes,

[Sender’s name redacted]

When a scholarly publisher doesn’t have to worry about losing subscriptions, the entire publishing dynamic changes. There’s less accountability. We hope that Frontiers can take these criticisms into account and make improvements in its operations.

66 Responses to I get complaints about Frontiers

  1. Tim williams says:

    I was delighted to have received this today. I have been considering whether to take up the task of editing a Frontiers publication in my field. I cannot say that I have been pestered by them, but they have sent two emails asking if I would invite my peers to submit articles on a topic of interest to me. Having read the above, I will write to refuse their kind offer, because I have been caught by a rogue operator in the past, where I was unhappy about the standard of editorial control.

    Thanks again for your blog – it is most helpful

  2. Nils says:

    Frontiers have been pestering me for months. Their first email was still acceptable as it contained the sentence “If you are interested in this opportunity, please let me know”, and thus respected my right not to answer unsolicited mails. However, since then, I have been receiving several reminders complaining about my not replying to previous invitations. This strikes me as unprofessional, and the quotes in the third email above do nothing to improve that impression.

    • That process of sending reminders is usually an automated process, though. The standard review platforms (edas.info, trackchair.com, easychair.org) for computer science all do exactly this, as well as at least one aimed at journals (editorialmanager.com). I don’t have any experience with other journal systems, though.

  3. Sylvain Bernès says:

    I have more or less the same complain with Hindawi. Once you have published one paper with them, you are flooded with invitations, which all begin with the same standard sentence:
    “We are planning to publish a number of Special Issues in [any Hindawi journal], and I am writing to invite you to be the Lead Guest Editor for a Special Issue on a topic of your choice…”
    If I correctly understand, Hindawi works using the Gold-OA scheme. It thus would be very uncomfortable for me to ask colleagues for submissions, with something like:
    “Please, could you submit whatever you want to this journal and pay the USD 1000 required as APC? The paper is unimportant; this is just to pad my CV with one line showing I edited one special issue (no matter what)”.
    Although I feel that such bona fide invitations are genuine, they remain, as any spam, annoying.

  4. Michael McShan says:

    I have been involved with Frontiers both as a reviewer and author. Overall, the experience has been positive, particularly during the review process of a manuscript I submitted, which was very interactive with the reviewers. I do have to agree, however, that most manuscripts that I have been asked to review were not in my field, and thus I had to decline these requests. While Frontiers may need to improve some of its policies, it is nowhere near Hindawi in terms of questionable practices.

  5. oa guy says:

    Looks like a guilt by association campaign from Beall, who well knows that just a mention on this site is damaging for the reputation of any journal.

    1. Review editors are pretty much the same as consulting editors (i.e., they help out with reviews). They are not paid, but neither are associate editors.
    2. To my knowledge, Frontiers does not send out spam mail for “invited reviews” so I do not understand this criticism. Does this remark even concern Frontiers, or is it about another journal?
    3. This point likely concerns “opinion/perspective” pieces (i.e. not research articles), and not original research (names of reviewers appear on every Frontiers paper).

    (Disclosure, I have also been involved with Frontiers as both author and editor and the experience has been positive)

  6. Reviewer says:

    My personal experience with Frontiers is quite different. First of all, they reject my application as editor, so they have some quality in mind (I am an average Joe in Science). they do not pester me with emails, although I think they go after a lot of well-known US scientist (based on anecdotial envidence). I am astonished at the concept of light review, as it match scaringly well what I am seeing as an editor of another (good) OA journal, SREP. I think this needs to change soon, even if these journals are relatively new.

    I do now reject (too much work) 90% or so of referee request. Assuming I rank pretty low in the reviewers rank, I just wonder WHO will take all these reviews, as an increasing number of scientist are refusing to review for low-mid level journals.

    • tekija says:

      You are right! There are way too many journals around these days. They run out not only of reviewers but also of editorial board members. All of this brings to my mind an ironic classic, from 1985 to be exact:

      Dear World’s Best Medical Journal (WBJM): I am sorry to say that I will not be able to send you my manuscript, entitled “In Search Of: 16 Physicians Looking for Another Publication to Add to Their CVs.”There are so many journals being published these days, and I receive so many requests to submit articles, that I can fill only a fraction of the demand. As a result, many worthwhile journals must be refused simply because I lack articles to go around. Comments about your journal from two expert reviewers are enclosed. Please remember that, in making my decision, many considerations are taken into account. All copies of my manuscript are, therefore, being sent to other journals. Thanks very much for the opportunity to review your journal.

      Ref: JAMA. 1985;254:1789-1790

      Sounds much more current than it was in the good ol’times.

  7. Raihanna says:

    Hi ,
    my apologies but my question is not on the Frontiers.
    Out of the blue, I received an invitation from Dr R.K. Dixit to send a paper to this “Global Journal of Medical Research (GJMR)”. I looked in the predatory list of journals but could not find it, or perhaps I might have overlooked?
    Does anyone know about this journal? The website seems convincing just like any other journals but I’m a bit skeptical.
    Many thanks.

    • This journal is published by a firm called Global Journals Inc. (US), which is based in India. It is included on my list of predatory publishers, and I strongly recommend that you NOT submit any papers to any of this publisher’s journals. Also, I recommend that you not serve on any of its editorial boards.

      • Raihanna says:

        noted with many thanks!!

      • Sheikh MH says:

        Dear Mr. Jeffrey Beall,

        Since, you have stated in previously “This journal is published by a firm called Global Journals Inc. (US), which is based in India. It is included on my list of predatory publishers, and I strongly recommend that you NOT submit any papers to any of this publisher’s journals ” in 6 nov, 2013. Actually, I couldn’t find find any frontiers’s journal in your predatory journal list except ‘Frontiers Bioscience’ and ‘Frontiers Aerospace science’. Now, would it be alright to consider other Frontiers journals since they are not in your list , like ‘Frontiers in Oncology’ ? I would highly appreciate your advice. Thank you.

      • I think you are confusing the publisher called Frontiers (the one published by Nature Publishing Group) with several other unrelated journals that happen to have the term “Frontiers” in their titles.

  8. My friend and colleague Bob French (U. Burgundy) just resigned from Frontiers too: Here (with his permission) is his letter to Frontiers, prompted by letter 3 above:

    Dear Frontiers editors,

    This letter resonates *perfectly* with the feelings I’ve come to have about Frontiers and served as the trigger for writing the present letter. Over and over I have been asked to review articles that are light years from any of my areas of competence. My areas of specialization are connectionist modeling, analogy-making (most competent), bilingual memory (a bit rusty, but ok), a bit of foundational stuff surrounding the Turing Test, and that’s about it. But I get requests to review things like this:
    “The effect of multisensory-induced changes on body-ownership and self-awareness using bodily illusions has been well established. More recently, experimental manipulation of bodily illusions have been combined with social cognition tasks to investigate whether changes in body-ownership can in turn change the way we perceive others….”

    And this hasn’t just happened once or twice. It happens all the time. I’ve written back comments in my “Decline to Review” that ranged from polite to nasty, but never — not once — have I gotten any feedback from Frontiers, just more requests to review things wildly far from the areas I know something about (“Physical activity has a positive long-lasting effect on a variety of psychiatric disorders such as depression. However, short term reward during e.g. fitness machine workout is low, and exercise machine handling is perceived as rather unpleasant by most….”)

    The quality of any journal depends far less on its editorial board being loaded with well-known researchers (which Frontiers in Cognitive Science has managed to accomplish) than on the quality of the reviews of the articles submitted to it. And the combination of sending reviewers like myself articles that might as well be about quantum mechanics, “light review” instructions, and further biasing the review process by requiring reviewers to sign their reviews, virtually ensures that accepted articles will be of randomly varying quality. And this is unacceptable.

    To conclude, because these practices are more than a one-off mistake and have been going on for ages, I can only conclude, sadly, that the driving motivation of Frontiers in Psychology (Cognitive Science) is not the open-access dissemination of high-quality science, but, rather, money. And I do not wish to participate in this. For this reason, I wish for my name to be removed from the Board of Reviewers.

    Sincerely,
    Robert M. French

    • oa guy says:

      As a review editor at Frontiers you get many review requests. The procedure is that an automatic request is sent to ALL review editors for the specialty in question (in this case Cognitive Science) if the associate editor has not been able to secure reviews within a certain time period (something around 10-14 days). The idea behind this is not to get sloppy or uninformed reviews, but rather to speed up the review process using the logic that people who sign up as review editors are expected to have broad competence in their field. Obviously one is only expected to perform reviews on papers within ones area of expertise (and the names of all reviewers are disclosed on each paper)

      • Thierry Forveille says:

        Well, it then seems that Beall’s criteria will need extending to cover such unacceptable spamming of potential reviewers.

  9. spc says:

    My experience with Frontiers was first as an (invited) author and later as an editor.

    1) I never received the spam-like (massive) emails commented here. Of course I got automatic emails (reminders, etc) but at a level even lower than more “established” and “reputable” journals.

    2) The issue of being asked to review papers partially outside one’s area of expertise is quite common in “established/reputable” journals, maybe leaving apart the very top ones. On the contrary, in Frontiers they are setting up a quite singular model for reviewing (a database of potential referees with their expertises, personalized review boards assembled by the editors, etc.) which I think is intended to avoid that.

    For me, these and other peculiarities of Frontiers (such as the publication of the referees’ names after publication, interactive review, a complex ad-hoc manuscript tracking system with additional features, …), makes me think that it is a genuine editorial effort which tries to deviate from existing initiatives (leaving apart the involvement of Nature). Other issue is whether it gets successful or not.

    Obviously, there are many things that can be criticized in this initiative, but I am sure that it is far from the “predatory OA journals” I also suffer daily.

  10. L. S. says:

    Some of us have been wondering how an article that could not possibly have been reviewed by those with expertise in the field got published. Now I have an idea. And I have more respect than ever for our traditional journals with an editor concerned about the quality of the published material and the competence and knowledge of the reviewers. I also think publishing the names of the reviewers biases the reviews, though a more interactive process does have some appeal.

  11. Frontiers is a pioneering experiment. They break from many conventions so feathers will be ruffled and mistakes will be made. Frankly, I like the concept of their review process. The usual convention of anonymity comes with its own set of biases. I have had experience with an ad hoc “interactive review”, elsewhere — it’s not an easy thing to manage. It will be great if Frontiers can make it work in a systematic way.

    Frontiers should not have found its way onto this website, in my opinion.

    • Harry Hab says:

      I won’t review for them, because in general (note: not just with them, but with any journal) there is a dynamic where legitimate concerns are ignored because authors and editors are mates. Suppose I agree to review for them and halfway through I realise that I am caught in that dynamic. Then I realise my name will appear in the colofon of the paper. At this point I have no choice to walk away; my time has been wasted, their time has been wasted. It therefore follows that, from a _moral_ point of view, I should never agree to review anything for them in the first place.

  12. S P Dhanavel says:

    Thank you for sharing useful information with other scholars and teachers. Some them may not really know the shady operations of the so-called open access journals.
    Prof S P Dhanavel, Chennai

  13. hamash tinbakir says:

    This is an interesting discussion, and I’m pasting here an email I had written to a Frontiers editor when asked to be involved in arranging a ‘research topic’, which I see as a ‘bordering on cynical’ device for generating income. For this reason, I do not submit nor review for Frontiers even though I am funded for covering publication costs.

    ___
    In my field, the ‘research topics’ initiative, I think, is having potentially damaging effects.  It seems the barrier for contacting a potential ‘topics’ organizer is quite low,  perhaps necessitating as much as publishing one prior work in the area (My ex-research assistant was contacted!).  Then, we get posts on mailing lists inviting the community to contribute ‘papers’ to a frontiers issue, which turns out to be  a ‘topic’.  From that point on, I suspect the topic organizers feel some pressure to accept at least some papers, and I end up seeing quite a bit of sub-par work.  What bothers me is that I see no reason for Frontiers to filter work, because at the end of the day it earns money from accepted papers.       There is an enormous amount of topics: more than 70 different ones just in ‘frontiers in physiology [H.B: updated: 133 as of Feb 1, 2014, of them 32 currently accepting abstracts]’. Multiply that by X papers per topic by Y $$ per paper and frontiers is surviving the economic crisis..  So beyond the hype, I see ‘topics’ as  a system for Frontiers to recruit articles by leveraging scientists’ need to be ever more visible in a competitive environment where success for one’s idea in the ‘idea marketplace’ can benefit from visibility in any form.

  14. thanks for all the information, I just turned down an “opportunity” from Frontiersin.org

  15. GE says:

    I have been contacted by a Frontiers Editorial Project Manager who wanted me to propose a subject for a research topic based on a recent publication of mine. When I asked her under what journal would this research topic be published, whether she had discussed the possibility of this publication with the editor of the journal she had in mind, and how many research topics are already open under that journal, I received a reply from a different person. This was an Editorial Assistant who did not answer any of my questions but very generally told me that my topic could be on anything I like, provided that it does not overlap with already open subjects. Once I have a full proposal, the topic I choose will be evaluated by the editor of the journal I pick. So clearly they email generic invitation messages to many researchers and capitalize on those who need visibility. Is this *borderline* predatory behavior? It seems to me they’re past that.

    • Caroline M says:

      I have received the same request (three times now!) regarding a topic on a single paper I published 2 years ago. My first hint that something was amiss was that it was my first paper in a new field for me, and the second was that I was the first author, not the senior nor corresponding author. It seemed like pseudo-spam so I ignored it until this third email when I decided to do some investigation and found this site!

      • Please share your opinion on accepting there request for submission of proposal for Frontiers Research Topic??

        Bhushan Raisinghani

      • I recommend that you not submit any papers to Frontiers. It’s a very expensive publisher. This publisher regularly has new scandals, and these scandals will reflect poorly on your choice of publisher, even though it’s very easy to get published in their journals; they hate to reject anything.

  16. Eli Rabett says:

    What Frontiers closely resembles is a multilevel marketing scheme

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2014/04/amway-science.html

  17. John Mashey says:

    Frontiers has been in the news, as in Eli Rabett’s Amway Science. or Ugo Bardi’s “Recursive Fury:” the reasons of Frontiers’ blunder (explaining why he quotas an editor or concerns of a potential associate edtior.

  18. GB says:

    I was recently invited to propose a Frontiers Research Topic citing a paper that I had published 3 years ago. This invitation came from the “molecular biosciences Editorial Project Manager”, a topic that has absolutely nothing (yes zero) to do with the content of my paper. The paper I published is a photonics and physics oriented study.

    The email was worded very much like a form email (text follows below). There was no mention of relevance or insight shown on part of the “editor”. This is a clear example of a “mining”-like practice on part of Frontiers. In addition, they seem to be trying to milk their link to the Nature Publishing Group, with bold text to emphasize, which I find to be a bit tacky.

    ——-

    Dear Dr. ,

    I believe that the subject of your article ” “, published in “ ”, highlights content that would be ideal to serve as a foundation for a Frontiers Research Topic. I would be happy to discuss related themes with you that could be proposed for such a Research Topic at Frontiers.

    These community-driven collections create a comprehensive open-access resource for the research community, provide a forum to highlight recent developments in areas of novelty or debate, and can be updated yearly to remain relevant for the scientific community.

    Here you can find an example of a completed Research Topic published as an E-Book.

    All articles are freely available upon publication, and while they are subject to a publishing fee, Research Topics are cost-effective, high-impact vehicles for the dissemination of research results.

    As you may know, Frontiers has recently partnered with Nature Publishing Group who shares our vision of a researcher-driven open science platform. As a result, all articles from Frontiers publications will soon be available on nature.com.

    I would also like to invite you to register on our Frontiers website, where you can keep up to date with current research.

    I look forward to learning if you are interested in proposing a Research Topic at Frontiers. Please, do contact me by phone or email should you have any questions.

    Best regards,

    Carina Paraiso
    Editorial Project Manager

    Frontiers

    http://www.frontiersin.org | twitter.com/FrontiersIn
    EPFL Innovation Square, Building I
    Lausanne, Switzerland
    Office T+41 21 510 17 15

    • GE says:

      That is exactly the same invitation email I received (I am the same GE who posted above on April 1). The editorial project manager sending the email was also the same person. Notice that I work in neuroscience.

    • DP says:

      Hi GB, I just received the same exact email from the same editor (on May 20). I replied asking for more detail and will wait to see what happens next. I’m an ecologist, so getting an email from a “molecular biosciences editorial project manager’ seems really fishy. However it could just be general incompetence or perhaps someone who has had pressure put on her to drum up submissions for new research topics. Has anyone reading this had an experience hosting or publishing in any of “Frontiers In” Research Topics? The idea of this sort of forum sounds quite good, and the price is pretty standard for open access. Of course the publishers are making butt-loads out of it, but is the quality of the science then necessarily lower?

    • Staffer says:

      I got the same spam email today, letter for letter.

      My reply, in full:
      UNSUBSCRIBE

      Will they respect that? Probably not. Everything containing “frontiersin” in the full text now gets deleted unread. Scripting, I love thee.

      • hamash tinbakir says:

        Perhaps also weigh in on the Wikipedia section editing to reflect what appears to be a ‘bad faith’ pitch? (see below)

    • MdC says:

      I agree that Frontiers’s practices are borderline predatory. Add me to the list of people receiving invitations from Carina Paraiso. I work in public health and her e-mail to me was in reference to a paper I presented at a conference last year. Note that I’m not a “Doctor” (yet), which should have been clear from the abstracts book, had it been a human doing the processing instead of a bot. This is the 4th e-mail I have received from her since February. The first e-mail invited me to be a topic editor. I have ignored all of them.

      Dear Dr. { },

      I am contacting you again regarding your contribution ‘{ }’ at the conference, { }. I would like to discuss with you the possibility of suggesting a Frontiers Research Topic around this theme. A Research Topic is a focused article collection on a theme that is developed by the community.

      Would you be so kind as to indicate if you might be interested in suggesting a theme for a Research Topic?

      I would also like to invite you to register, for free, on our network and take full advantage of our features to keep up to date with current research, boost your readership, and share open access, peer-reviewed articles.

      My team and I would be happy to provide further guidance.

      Best regards,

      Carina Paraiso

      Editorial Project Manager
      Frontiers Research Topics​

      • Costa Vakalopoulos says:

        Sounds like we need a new DSM V diagnosis: borderline predatory journal added to the list of other predatory journals including narcissistic, schizotypal, but also paranoid and histrionic predatory journals, non avoidant, anti social and dependent predatory journals. Then of course there are psychopathic, careless, obsessive compulsive predatory journals, not to mention depressive.

      • hamash tinbakir says:

        Let me just say that I won’t go to editing wars on Wikipedia, but when I edited the web page of Frontiers to this effect, my entry was deleted immediately, presumably because reports posted on a blog (as opposed to a reputable blog post /new source) are considered a Reputable Source for citation purposes.

        In other words, if and only if a magazine were to report on these non-discriminatory, wide-net-casting, border-line spamming and solely-financially-motivated practices of Frontiers then such a wikipedia entry could be added.

        If there’s any such a reporter reading this, I’d be glad to engage in conversation, but with my lab/students/responsibilities, I don’t have time to push this on my own. We never publish in Frontiers on principle, and I don’t review for them. To my thinking they do more damage to my field (cognitive neuroscience) than any other single factor.

      • Costa Vakalopoulos says:

        hamash timbakir said “border-line spamming and solely-financially-motivated practices of Frontiers ”
        If it wasn’t for journals like frontiers with fairer and more transparent peer review practices many novel and interesting ideas just wouldn’t get published because they challenge hegemonic orthodoxy and self interested dogmatism.
        there is obviously a ‘scientific’ need for the revolution in OA to flourish in this way that goes beyond mere commercial opportunity because
        1. Traditional journal practices just aren’t meeting all the needs of the scientific community
        2. There is a power struggle between the traditional printing mechanisms and OA for control of scientific ideas ostensibly in the name of quality control. There is a real thirst for a greater diversity in ideas that aren’t vetoed by anonymous individuals
        3. OA represents a greater democratization of the scientific endeavour and that will naturally be vigorously fought by more authoritarian tendencies.

  19. hamash tinbakir says:

    Dear all, given the picture emerging here (particularly about research topics solicitation), I think a revision to Frontier’s wikipedia page is necessary, documenting these misleading marketing practices. I’ve weighed in on this on the Talk page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Frontiers_(publisher), and perhaps after reaching consensus regarding phrasing, changes to the wikipedia page could be done. Feel free to edit the talk page so we can finalize this.

  20. Frontier Journal is the future of Science publication. It is maintaining its high quality peer review process. Some papers published in Frontier has started viewing and referring by the Scientists working across the world. This Journal must get its due respect and high Impact factor also.
    Professor Saumitra Mukherjee

  21. […] publishers – a bunch of similar journals started recently, available electronically only, and with dubious practices – is in fact partially owned by the Nature Publishing Group, NPG. NPG is participating in the boom […]

  22. I also got one of these invitations to be an editor. It was for there new Frontiers in Mathematics, except that I’m not qualified to be a reviewer. Their website makes frequent reference to their reviewers being top-notch in there field, and I have to regard this as a lie.

  23. pbj says:

    To be fair, I’ve been asked to review stuff that isn’t vaguely related to my work from well respected traditional journals too. So I don’t think it’s a Frontiers specific issue. I think think it’s a too many papers not enough reviewers issue…

  24. rhelburn says:

    I find articles on a Frontiers journal that were already published in a regular journal. Do they do this? Is this how they can get high (in some cases) impact factors?

  25. rhelburn says:

    It may be that they are just publishing the abstracts and titles online and thus acting as a search engine, which is nice. I went in to Frontiers in Chemistry and put in a the key word ‘solvatochromic’ which is related to my work. Up came titles and abstracts for articles in other journals, but I realize now that I cannot print the papers. Perhaps they are acting as a data base (also) just for that information. So I am wrong to say that they had republished the papers. When I searched their site for the first time I was expecting to see only papers they had published was taken aback initially.

  26. spc says:

    I’d like to bring to your attention two issues not yet raised here:

    1) Frontiers is controlled by Nature Publishing Group. We could discuss on that for years but, for me, this against being a predatory journal.

    2) Innovation. For me, a characteristic of predatory journals is the total lack of “innovation”. (What for?) These journals all use almost identical schemas for getting referees and submissions (based on email spam, etc.). Many even use the same software for manuscript tracking, or code a very simple one. In Frontiers they built a totally new model for managing scientific publishing, and implemented it in an ad-hoc computer platform. You may like this model or not (I do not like MANY of its thigs), but you have to recognize that is new and it took a lot of time, money and people to set it up.

  27. […] and to have editors double as peer reviewers. Further troubling examples in the post and comments here. Yes, these are only anecdotes and I’m sure there are negative anecdotes about all […]

    • Costa Vakalopoulos says:

      In support of the frontiers response to the manifesto is that distributing editorial power protects against potential abuses, concentration of decision making is anathema to scientific progress

  28. Bob says:

    I’ve also been invited to edit a research topic, based on a conference presentation. The fun thing is it wasn’t even mine, I’m just one of the authors of the study. So, please add this to the list of ‘Frontiers asking random people on the internet to edit their journals’.

    • Oliver says:

      Same happened to me, I just got an invitation to present a research topic based on a conference abstract of last year, which I was second and non-presenting author on. I have certainly published more significant articles over the years than that…
      I also got invitations from the person Carina Paraiso who was mentioned several times above in connection with research topics ranging from public health via neuroscience and ecology to photonics. I’m a vertebrate palaeontologist…
      All this does not speak for true interest in finding interesting research topics but rather indicates financial motives as the main driving force behind these invitations.

    • AJ says:

      I totally agree with this and am facing the same problem. Frontiers sends me requests for manuscripts to review now almost one per week. Last 10 days have been really bad and that’s what triggered me to vent out my frustration here! Since July 31st, I received 4 emails requesting to review! Even if these manuscripts fall in my areas of expertise, which they don’t, isn’t it a little too much? So, I believe that totally qualifies as reviewer spamming. Second, I am very flattered when seeing the manuscripts they send to me to review because I seem to be an expert in ALL the fields!! Every time I decline, I use the reason that it doesn’t fall in my areas of expertise. Since they mention about editing keywords, I actually took some time to re-visit my profile! Totally shocked to see the list of keywords they impose on you. Basically, it is a compilation of ALL keywords that appear in all your publications without any filter as such. That’s especially a curse for someone specializing in fields of bioinformatics or biostatistics. They are considered as experts in Kawasaki syndrome or drug abuse, etc. because in the past you have done some data analyses for these studies. May be there’s some “logic” (guilt by association?) for this? But I noticed some of the keyword “recommendations” – “History, 15th Century” – they have for a bioinformatician and then I knew that there’s something seriously wrong here. And there’s no way you can delete all keywords and enter new ones! You need to manually check each and delete. I did spend some time and “cleaned” up the keywords on my profile! And behold, now I am spammed even more and with even more “irrelevant” manuscripts to review! In fact, some time back, I did send an email about this to one of the editors with no response!

      Currently, I am still diligently declining the requests. But if I continue to receive these emails at the same pace, I am seriously considering adding them to my spammers list so that I never get to see those invitations!

  29. We have listed Frontiers as a Scientific Spammer since March 2015. Our visibility to their spam predates the existence of our little DNSBL, however.

  30. […] Beall ha messo Frontiers fra gli editori predoni (ci pensava da parecchio). Grandi proteste su twitter, dice a una news di Nature, e come altri spennapolli, Frontiers ha […]

  31. […] Beall has been concerned about Frontiers as early as 2013, when he quoted from e-mails received about suspicious “reviewer” invitations it […]

  32. There is a recent posting of science journalist Leonid Schneider on this topic. His posting can be found at https://forbetterscience.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/is-frontiers-a-potential-predatory-publisher/

  33. I present all my investigations in regard to Frontiers on my own blog here: https://forbetterscience.wordpress.com
    Personally, I now tend to believe that Frontiers’ main weakness is their lax attitude to conflicts of interest (COI). The publisher started in 2007 with the owners’ own controversial papers on autism. In the current situation, it seems it pays off to have certain networks inside a given Frontiers journal to circumvent their own rules on quality control, editorial suitability and COI. It also helps to be an actual Frontiers editor, with the notorious Alfredo Fusco as prime example. Other problematic papers advocate parapsychology and other esoteric nonsense. Please visit my blog for details, your comments are most welcome

  34. me says:

    I get SPAM all the time from Frontiers.

    I can only applaud adding them to this list.

  35. […] ‘I get complaints about Frontiers’. https://scholarlyoa.com/2013/11/05/i-get-complaints-about-frontiers/ (geraadpleegd 29 april […]

  36. […] Posting about Frontiers at least once on his blog, he doesn’t go so far as to say they’re predatory but does highlight questionable practices such as spamming and arguably loose editorial practices, I get complaints about Frontiers […]

  37. Janos Toth says:

    I recently discovered a ‘Frontiers’ account on Scribd with thousands of uploaded articles publihed NOT in Frontiers journals. All seems to be open access/freely available articles, but one would question why a legit scientific publisher would republish other publishers’ content; in fact I think it is pretty unheard of?!

    https://www.scribd.com/publisher/47197814/Frontiers

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