James Heathers
2 min readMar 8, 2024

The Frontiers journal group is well known for having long-maintained editorial policies which make rejecting a paper during review difficult to impossible.

Significant deviations from normal editorial practices occur at all levels within the review process.

These include:

  • signing editor’s names to automatic review invitations which have to be manually located and stopped; these often go to inappropriate reviewers
  • moving papers between editors during legitimate prolonged review processes
  • system-locking both unreasonable positive and negative reviews, making it unreasonably difficult for editors to either accept or (more commonly) reject manuscripts
  • cursory or low-quality reviews being deemed acceptable
  • Frontiers staff directly interfering in aspects of the editorial process — this is an issue that is largely unique to Frontiers journals, and is not seen even at other low-quality publishers

These issues have been ongoing for several years, please see the Manifesto for Editorial Independence linked at the end.

The below required about 90 seconds of research, I am certain I could easily locate many other similar stories — these are just confined to negative associate editorial experiences.

“Much to our regret, repeated recent attempts of the medical Editors to discuss crucial issues regarding their position within Frontiers remained unanswered. Therefore Editors of the Frontiers Medical Journals felt urged to write the enclosed Manifesto of Editorial Independence. The manifesto is submitted to Frontiers Media SA as the publisher and owner of the medical journals Frontiers in Medicine, Frontiers in Surgery, and Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine and signed by Editors from 14 countries. The manifesto summarizes the Publisher’s continued interference with our editorial independence, documented transgressions, the unacceptable peer review procedures of medical article manuscripts, and the medical publishing regulations of the WAME, the ICMJE, and the COPE. The publisher is required to respond to the manifesto, to implement changes so that the international medical publishing standards are met, and full editorial independence established and warranted.”