Frontiers Media

Frontiers Media SA is a publisher of peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journals[3] currently active in science, technology, and medicine. It was founded in 2007 by Kamila and Henry Markram,[2] and has since expanded to other academic fields. Frontiers is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, with other offices in London, Madrid, Seattle and Brussels.[4] In 2022, Frontiers employed more than 1,400 people, across 14 countries.[2] All Frontiers journals are published under a Creative Commons Attribution License.[5]

Frontiers Media
Founded2007 (2007)
FounderKamila Markram and Henry Markram[1]
Country of originSwitzerland
Headquarters locationLausanne
Key peopleKamila Markram, CEO
Publication typesOpen access scientific journals
Nonfiction topicsMedicine, life sciences, technology
No. of employees>1,400 (2022)[2]

Frontiers journals are included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Frontiers is also a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), a participating publisher and supporter of the Initiative for Open Citations, and a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). As of 2022, Frontiers publishes over 185 academic journals, including 48 journals indexed within the Science Citation Index Expanded, and 4 journals indexed within the Social Sciences Citation Index,[6] with a total of 51 journals ranked with an impact factor.[7]

In 2015, Frontiers Media was classified as a possible predatory publisher by Jeffrey Beall.


The first journal published was Frontiers in Neuroscience, which opened for submission as a beta version in 2007.[8] In 2010, Frontiers launched a series of another 11 journals in medicine and science. In February 2012, the Frontiers Research Network was launched,[9] a social networking platform for researchers, intended to disseminate the open access articles published in the Frontiers journals, and to provide related conferences, blogs, news, video lectures and job postings.[10]

In February 2013, the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) (now Nature Research) acquired a controlling interest in Frontiers Media,[11] however collaboration between the Nature Publishing Group and Frontiers ended in 2015.[12]

Frontiers for Young Minds was launched in November 2013 during the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in collaboration with NPG as a web-based science journal that involves young people in the review of scientific articles with the help of scientists who act as mentors.[13][14]

In early September 2014, Frontiers received the ALPSP Gold Award for Innovation in Publishing from the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.[15]

In October 2015, Frontiers (in collaboration with NPG) launched Loop, a research network that is open to be integrated into any publisher's or academic organization's website,[16][17] and Loop soon included a collaboration with ORCID to link and synchronize researcher profile information.[18] The Technical University of Madrid was the first university to link their Loop profile to their institutional website.[19]

In 2019, Frontiers joined the Initiative for Open Citations.[20]

In May 2020, Frontiers Media launched its Artificial Intelligence Review Assistant software to external editors.[21] The software helps identify conflicts of interest and plagiarism, assesses manuscript and peer review quality, and recommends editors and reviewers,[21][22] although the software does not flag all forms of conflict of interest, such as undisclosed funding sources or affiliations.[21]

In 2022, a group of publishers including Frontiers Media joined the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers' STM Integrity Hub, an initiative to provide publishers with tools to combat journal article submissions with integrity issues from research paper mills.[23]

List of journals

The Frontiers journals use open peer review, where the names of reviewers of accepted articles are made public.[24]

In February 2016, the series contained 54 journals,[25] a number that grew to more than 80 by 2020.[26] The collection of all the journals in the series is sometimes considered a megajournal, as is the BioMed Central series.[25][27][28] Some journals, such as Frontiers in Human Neuroscience[29] or Frontiers in Microbiology[30] are considered megajournals on their own. The journals published by Frontiers are:

  • Frontiers in Aging
  • Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Agronomy
  • Frontiers in Allergy
  • Frontiers in Analytical Science
  • Frontiers in Animal Science
  • Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics
  • Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence
  • Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
  • Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Big Data
  • Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  • Frontiers in Bioinformatics
  • Frontiers in Blockchain
  • Frontiers in Built Environment
  • Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Frontiers in Catalysis
  • Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
  • Frontiers in Chemical Engineering
  • Frontiers in Chemistry
  • Frontiers in Climate
  • Frontiers in Clinical Diabetes and Healthcare
  • Frontiers in Communication
  • Frontiers in Communications and Networks
  • Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Computer Science
  • Frontiers in Conservation Science
  • Frontiers in Control Engineering
  • Frontiers in Dental Medicine
  • Frontiers in Digital Health
  • Frontiers in Digital Humanities
  • Frontiers in Drug Delivery
  • Frontiers in Drug Discovery
  • Frontiers in Earth Science
  • Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
  • Frontiers in Education
  • Frontiers in Electronic Materials
  • Frontiers in Electronics
  • Frontiers in Endocrinology
  • Frontiers in Energy Research
  • Frontiers in Environmental Chemistry
  • Frontiers in Environmental Science
  • Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Forests and Global Change
  • Frontiers in Fungal Biology
  • Frontiers in Future Transportation
  • Frontiers in Gastroenterology
  • Frontiers in Genetics
  • Frontiers in Genome Editing
  • Frontiers in Global Women's Health
  • Frontiers in Health Services
  • Frontiers in Human Dynamics
  • Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in ICT
  • Frontiers in Immunology
  • Frontiers in Insect Science
  • Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in International Journal of Public Health
  • Frontiers in Manufacturing Technology
  • Frontiers in Marine Science
  • Frontiers in Materials
  • Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering
  • Frontiers in Medical Technology
  • Frontiers in Medicine
  • Frontiers in Microbiology
  • Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences
  • Frontiers in Molecular Medicine
  • Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Nanotechnology
  • Frontiers in Network Physiology
  • Frontiers in Neural Circuits
  • Frontiers in Neuroanatomy
  • Frontiers in Neuroenergetics
  • Frontiers in Neuroengineering
  • Frontiers in Neuroergonomics
  • Frontiers in Neuroinformatics
  • Frontiers in Neurology
  • Frontiers in Neurorobotics
  • Frontiers in Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Nuclear Medicine
  • Frontiers in Nutrition
  • Frontiers in Oncology
  • Frontiers in Ophthalmology
  • Frontiers in Oral Health
  • Frontiers in Pain Research
  • Frontiers in Pediatrics
  • Frontiers in Pharmacology
  • Frontiers in Photonics
  • Frontiers in Physics
  • Frontiers in Physiology
  • Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Frontiers in Political Science
  • Frontiers in Psychiatry
  • Frontiers in Psychology
  • Frontiers in Public Health
  • Frontiers in Radiology
  • Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Frontiers in Remote Sensing
  • Frontiers in Reproductive Health
  • Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics
  • Frontiers in Robotics and AI
  • Frontiers in Sensors
  • Frontiers in Signal Processing
  • Frontiers in Sociology
  • Frontiers in Soil Science
  • Frontiers in Space Technologies
  • Frontiers in Sports and Active Living
  • Frontiers in Surgery
  • Frontiers in Sustainability
  • Frontiers in Sustainable Cities
  • Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
  • Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Systems Biology
  • Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
  • Frontiers in Thermal Engineering
  • Frontiers in Toxicology
  • Frontiers in Tropical Diseases
  • Frontiers in Urology
  • Frontiers in Veterinary Science
  • Frontiers in Virology
  • Frontiers in Virtual Reality
  • Frontiers in Water

as well as

  • Dystonia
  • Earth Science, Systems and Society
  • Frontiers for Young Minds
  • Pathology & Oncology Research
  • Oncology Reviews
  • Public Health Reviews
  • Spanish Journal of Soil Science
  • Transplant International

Indexing and abstracting

The National Publication Committee of Norway has assigned Frontiers Media an institutional-level rating of "level 0" in the Norwegian Scientific Index since 2018, indicating that the publisher is "not academic",[31] however individual Frontiers journals have separate journal-level ratings. As of 2022, 96 Frontiers journals are listed in the Norwegian Scientific Index, of which 2 have a rating of "level 2" (top 20% of all journals in their field), over 88 have a rating of "level 1" (standard academic), 1 has a rating of level X (possibly predatory), and 5 have a rating of "level 0" (not academic).[31]

As of 2022, Frontiers publishes over 185 academic journals, including 48 journals indexed within the Science Citation Index Expanded, and 4 journals indexed within the Social Sciences Citation Index,[6] with a total of 51 journals ranked with an impact factor.[7] Furthermore, as of 2021, 9 Frontiers Media journals have been selected for inclusion in MEDLINE.[32]

In broader databases, Frontiers has over 130 journals indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ),[33] over 60 journals listed in PubMed Central (PMC),[34] over 70 journals listed in Scopus[35] and over 65 journals indexed in Web of Science.[36]


Editorial concerns

In May 2015, Frontiers Media removed the entire editorial boards of Frontiers in Medicine and Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine after editors complained that Frontiers Media staff were "interfering with editorial decisions and violating core principles of medical publishing". In total 31 editors were removed. Following this incident, Nature Publishing Group ended its collaboration with Frontiers with the intent "never to mention again that Nature Publishing Group has some kind of involvement in Frontiers."[12]

In June 2015, Retraction Watch referred to the publisher as one with "a history of badly handled and controversial retractions and publishing decisions".[37]

According to researchers referenced in a 2015 blog post quoted by Allison and James Kaufman in the 2018 book Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science, "Frontiers has used an in-house journals management software that does not give reviewers the option to recommend the rejection of manuscripts" and the "system is setup to make it almost impossible to reject papers".[38]

In 2017, further editors were removed, allegedly for their rejection rate being high. In December 2017, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch wrote in the magazine Nautilus that the acceptance rate of manuscripts in Frontiers journals was reported to be near 90%.[39]

In 2022, the editors of a special issue with the online journal Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics voiced their concerns about the editorial practices at Frontiers, including flaws in the peer review process, unwillingness to discuss these concerns, and forbidding the editors from writing about their concerns in the editorial of the special issue.[40]

In January 2023, Zhejiang Gongshang University (浙江工商大学) in Hangzhou, China, announced it would no longer include articles published in Frontiers journals when evaluating researcher performance.[41][42]

Inclusion in Beall's list

In October 2015, Frontiers was added to librarian Jeffrey Beall's list of "Potential, possible, or probable" predatory open-access publishers.[43][44][8] The inclusion was met with backlash among some researchers.[43] Daniël Lakens, researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology, said "articles people have published in Frontiers are no longer judged based on their own quality, but are now seen as less valuable because Frontiers is on Beall's list".[45] At the time, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) said that "there have been vigorous discussions about, and some editors are uncomfortable with, the editorial processes at Frontiers" but that "the processes are declared clearly on the publisher's site and we do not believe there is any attempt to deceive either editors or authors about these processes".[46] Frontiers is a COPE member and one of its employees sits on COPE's council.[46]

In July 2016 Beall recommended that academics not publish their work in Frontiers journals, stating "the fringe science published in Frontiers journals stigmatizes the honest research submitted and published there",[47] and in October of that year Beall reported that reviewers have called the review process "merely for show".[48] Beall deleted his blacklist in January 2017.[49]

In September 2016, Frontiers demanded that the university where Beall worked force him to retract his claims.[50][51] Pressure by Frontiers was reported to be a large factor in the controversial shutdown of Beall's List.[51]

Controversial articles

In April 2013, Frontiers in Psychology retracted a controversial article linking climate change denialism and "conspiracist ideation";[52] the retraction was itself also controversial and led to the resignations of at least three editors.[53]

In late September 2014, Frontiers in Public Health published a controversial article that supported HIV denialism; three days later the publisher issued a statement of concern and announced an investigation into the review process of the article.[54] It was eventually decided that the article would not be retracted but instead was reclassified as an opinion piece.[55] It has since been retracted.[56]

In November 2016, a paper in Frontiers in Public Health linking vaccines to autism was provisionally-accepted, then retracted. Public criticism noted the paper relied on flawed methodology for reliable results, basing its conclusions only on an online questionnaire, filled in by 415 mothers of school children who self-reported whether their children had neurolodevelopmental disorders, and their vaccination status.[57]

In 2021, a provisionally accepted controversial paper in Frontiers in Pharmacology on COVID-19 and the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin was ultimately rejected by the editors as it contained "unsubstantiated claims and violated the journal's editorial policies". This drew anger from the authors of the paper, who called the move "censorship".[58] Retraction Watch noted that this was not the first time Frontiers provisionally accepted and then rejected a controversial paper.[59]

A study published in Frontiers in Virology in February 2022 said that Moderna had patented a 19 nucleotide genetic sequence uniquely matching a part of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein three years prior to the pandemic, arguing it was evidence that the virus was manufactured as part of a lab leak conspiracy.[60][61] The study has been widely derided for its misunderstanding of statistical likelihood, particularly as the 19 nucleotide sequence is not unique to SARS-CoV-2, and is also found in organisms like bacteria and birds.[61][62] Craig Wilen, an immunobiology professor of the Yale School of Medicine, likened the study to "complete garbage" and a "conspiracy theory" rather than legitimate research.[60][63]


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  2. "The Next frontier". Forbes (in German). 4 April 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
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  5. "Frontiers Copyright Statement". 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  6. company, Web of Science Group, a Clarivate. "Web of Science Master Journal List". Web of Science Group, a Clarivate company. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
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  12. Enserink, Martin (20 May 2015). "Open-access publisher sacks 31 editors amid fierce row over independence". Science. doi:10.1126/science.aac4629.
  13. "Frontiers for Young Minds Launches at USA Science and Engineering Festival". Frontiers. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  14. "Young Minds on Scientific American". Scientific American. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
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  24. Helmer, Markus; Schottdorf, Manuel; Neef, Andreas; Battaglia, Demian (21 March 2017). "Gender bias in scholarly peer review". eLife. 6. doi:10.7554/elife.21718. PMC 5360442. PMID 28322725.
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  41. ForeignFriends. "MDPI, Frontiers & Hindawi are blacklisted by a university". Weixin Official Accounts Platform. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
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  50. Schneider, Leonid (14 September 2016). "Beall-listed Frontiers empire strikes back". For Better Science. Retrieved 26 November 2016. Frontiers disagrees with this librarian's privately held views, the publisher demands of his academic employer to impose disciplinary measures or coercion against Beall.
  51. Basken, Paul (12 September 2017). "Why Beall's List Died — and What It Left Unresolved About Open Access". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  52. Herndon, J. Marvin (30 June 2016). "Human and Environmental Dangers Posed by Ongoing Global Tropospheric Aerosolized Particulates for Weather Modification". Frontiers in Public Health. 4 (139): 139. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2016.00139. PMC 4927569. PMID 27433467. (Retracted, see doi:10.3389/fpubh.2016.00156, PMID 27453892)
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  54. "Publisher issues statement of concern about HIV denial paper, launches investigation". Retraction Watch. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  55. Ferguson, Cat (24 February 2015). "Frontiers lets HIV denial article stand, reclassifies it as "opinion"". Retraction Watch.
  56. Goodson, P. (2014). "Questioning the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: 30 years of dissent". Frontiers in Public Health. 2: 154. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00154. PMC 4172096. PMID 25695040.
  57. Chawla, Dalmeet Singh (28 November 2016). "Study linking vaccines to autism pulled following heavy criticism". Retraction Watch. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  58. Offord, Catherine (28 March 2021). "Frontiers Removes Controversial Ivermectin Paper Pre-Publication". TheScientist. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  59. "Weekend reads: An apology from JAMA; a call to retract COVID-19 ayurveda paper; the treasure that was a hoax". Retraction Watch. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  60. Zhang, Legu; Echols, William (1 April 2022). "Made by Moderna? China Spreads Yet Another Debunked COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
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