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Plan S: Journal Checker Tool [+]

Nivåplasseringer og UH-sektorens publiseringspoeng

År Nivå Forfatterandeler Publiseringspoeng
2024 0
2023 0 0.0 0.0
2022 1 22.9442 44.7054
2021 1 67.2391 106.6041
2020 1 60.4639 92.5909
2019 1 30.2375 47.1001
2018 1 29.4885 43.5809
2017 1 13.9167 22.0444
2016 1 4.6167 8.097
2015 1 5.2035 8.6451
2014 1 1.7667 1.7667
2013 1 6.25 6.25
2012 1 2.25 2.25
2011 1 0.0 0.0
2010 1 1.83 1.83
2009 1 0.0 0.0
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It absolutely does make sense to degrade the journal Sustainability.

Here is why:

1. Problematic paper screener has dected 32 papers with problematic content, mostly publshed in the period 2021-23. These papers contains so called "tortured phrases" (nonsensical content) and/or "feet of clay" (irrelevant references). These papers should never have been published, if Sustainable was a serious journals with the necessary quality control.

2. Deep screening in Dimensions for nonsensical, unusual or non-scientific phrases in eg. Data availability statements, identify a large number of papers. Eg. "Data is contained within the article" (225 articles) and "Data availability statement: Not applicable" (3442 articles).

Most of the identified papers are published in the periode 2021-23. Please note that some of the hits represent review articles and editorials, where the mentioned phrases might be understandable. However, many of the identified papers are indeed original papers with data.

3. The time it takes from submission to acceptance is exceptionally short. This is true for many MDPI journals, also Sustainability. At the same time they are publishing an astonishing number of papers. I can't understand how they do it without compromising quality.
Here is one example of a paper where it took only 20 days from submission to acceptance. This is not unusual for papers in Sustainability:
I also agree that the change of journal's level from 1 to 0 does not make sense at all after that many researchers provided examples of an appropriate quality of the editorial process in 'Sustainability'.

You write above ''...betydelig antall bekymringsmeldinger fra forskere...'', but all could see that the number of researchers who supported this journal with its overal review and decision making's process was higher that the number of those who registered 'bekymringsmeldinger.'

Conclusion: a poor decision by your scientific committee.
To my amazement the level of Sustainability has changed from 1 to 0. It appears as if one disgruntled reviewer is rewarded for being disgruntled.

I have one paper in Sustainability and one co-authored paper.The first paper got rather mixed responses from its 2 reviewers. The co-authored paper got many constructive comments. MDPI is using a rather speedy review process. I get many review requests for various of their journals. I have to decline many reviews, since I cannot make the strict deadline. However, I also regularly review papers for their journals. At this moment, I got a paper with all review comments answered and all changes to the paper clearly marked. Although I proposed a reject, I think that it is fair that the editor based on the reviews continues the process; that is the reason to have several reviewers.

As associate editor of a Wiley journal, I know how challenging it is to find capable reviewers that are willing to review :-(.

My experiences with MDPI are that they are significantly speedier than most other journals. However, I do not experience that this is at the cost of the review and publication quality.

I consider the level reduction a strange and poor decision.
Thank you for the comment.

This journal has been thoroughly checked by the scientific committees and the National Board of Scholarly Publishing. The full decision can be found through the link in the text above the level table, or in this article: The decision is only available in Norwegian.

Kind regards,
Lena-Cecilie Linge
I have recently submitted an article for Sustainability together with two colleagues and we have four (4) reviewers who has commented extensively and clear - twice. We are publishing in a special issue.

The reviewers were competent in our field of research (social science).

I am reviewer for many international social science journals and Sustainability has the same standard as any other level 1 journal.

Berit Irene Nordahl, Norway
I and co-authors published a paper in Sustainability in 2021. We found the editorial and review process as rigorous and sound as expected for a level 1 journal. The paper was reviewed by three reviewers in two rounds, the comments from two of the reviewers were clear, to-the-point and constructive. The communication with the editor/editing team was clear and efficient.
Having two papers in the pipeline of the Sustainability Journal, I have received three promising reviews on both, with a suggestion for major revisions for one and minor edits for the other. This Journal has an outstanding reputation among the biological science academic community, and therefore, categorizing it as level X seems quite random and unreasonable.
I am on the editorial board of Sustainability (MDPI) and see that Sustainability now is on the X list. The process is as follows; a first check of the quality of the paper is done from one of the members of the editorial board, or from an invited guest editor. At this stage it can be rejected directly without much discussion. If not, then the manuscript is sent for review, most often to three reviewers, and they give advice either to accept it, send it back for minor revisions or major revisions, or reject it. If one reviewer suggest to reject it, and others to send it for a revision, it will be up to the editor of that issue to decide.
I have been reviewer for two manuscripts submitted to Sustainability. One of these I suggested declining. The decision by the journal editor was accordingly. For the other one, I suggested a number of improvements, all of which were either properly corrected or (a few) properly argued by the authors. During the second round for this manuscript, I had only minor comments to the discretion of the editor to accept when changed. In both cases, I found the reviewing processes as good as I expected for a Web of Science journal. I have not experienced difference with respect to this journal compared to, e.g., high ranked Elsevier Level 1 and Level 2 journals. The only issue is that Sustainability asked me to finish the reviews within one week, while I told them, and got, 2-3 weeks for completing the review.
I published a paper in Sustainability. The article was reviewed by three reviewers in three rounds. The comments were very constructive and the process was clear and transparent. The comments showed that the reviewers are experts in the field. The communication with the editor and editing team was also pretty good.
From my experience as co-author for 2 articles in Sustainability and reviewer for 3 articles in MDPI journal (1 in Sustainability), I consider Sustainability to be of comparable quality as other level 1 MDPI journal.
I have experienced efficient, consistent and transparent review process, with valuable and targeted comments from the reviewers, even lower level of discrepency among reviews compared to other peer-reviewed journals. 
Communication with the editor team is always clear and efficient.
I have published one article in Sustainability journal in 2021, and the review process was quite rigorous. At first, I had four reviewers. Following the second round of review, three of them accepted the publication, but one still wanted some corrections. After that, the editor asked me to make a final revision, which was provided. It seems like, in this particular case, the review was good enough for Level 1 journal.
It's surprising!
I have published and also reviewed in the Sustainability journal. I did not see any breach of ethics. I testify that the editorial and review process was careful and rigorous.
I have published in Sustainability earlier this year (2021) and found the editorial and review process careful and rigorous, as it usually happens for Level 1 journals.
Moreover, as authors we had the opportunity to select the "Open Peer-Review Option", which allows the publication of review reports and author responses together with the published paper. It was the first time I used this option and I found it a very effective and transparent strategy to prove the quality of both articles and review process.
As professor and former vice-dean, with 25 years of experience with journals and publication, I'd like to share several comments:

I have been co-author for 4 publications in Sustainability, in 2018 and 2019. In all cases I found the review process to be of good quality, meaning mostly good feedback and sufficient quality assessment, on par with the average level 1 journal.

In these years, I chose to see this journal as a refreshing example of a business model for OA publishing that would probably become increasingly popular, And that we would probably need to accept a number of hiccups on the way to get there, but that this type of OA publishing should generally deserve our support. It proved that it is possible to combine good and meaningful reviews with short publication times.

That said, I have not considered to publish there recently because of the increasingly predatory connotation that mdpi journals are causing, at least in Norway.

In my research field, several highly acknowledged professors have committed to guest editing for this journal and continue to do so up to this day. This strengthens my idea that Sustainability is a valuable outlet for research, at least in my field. It is very well read, is my impression.

What irritates me though is the numerous requests for guest editing special issues, sometimes from journals which are not in my field, and sometimes from different subject editors which seem to plug ideas for special issues in parallel without coordination. These practices do, in my view, weaken the reputation of the journal, and they are shooting themselves in the foot.

In sum, I strongly believe Sustainability deserves to be on level 1, based on my personal experiences related to publishing in it. I also find that my international colleagues are less concerned about a potentially predatory status. But I do agree that the business model they use comes with a number of unpleasant and unprofessional symptoms which make me frown.
I have also published in Sustainability, and found the editorial and review process to be substantial and careful. In my view, it should be counted as Level 1.
My personal experience with Sustainability is positive, I published two articles in 2020 and they both went through three reviewers and two rounds each. At least two of three reviewers gave very useful comments, suggesting that they were expert in the research field. Reviewers' reports and our answers are available on the journal web page. The publication process was very quick also because we had to do beforehand all the editing work putting the manuscript in the right layout.

However, I have also noticed a very variable quality of published material (and their reviews) and I have recently made contact with the author of a published paper to inform about a mistake in their publication (which will be corrected), that made me suspect that, in this case, their reviewers' system did not work as it should.
As co-author, I support this comment.
As a co-author of the papers, I support the comment.
I don't think the journal 'Sustainability' in terms of both quality and review process is poorer than the other contemporary MDPI journals such as 'Energies', 'Microorganisms', 'Applied Sciences', etc. I have two publications in this journal, and the recently accepted paper went for 3 rounds of review and took almost 3 months to get accepted. This paper would not be accepted if results for the supporting experiment had not been submitted. My experience tells that many so-called 1/2 level journals would have passed the second round review of the same paper without being so strict on the need of additional/supporting experimental results, so the scientific content is further improved.
Har vurdert flere artikler i Sustainability, og prosessen har vært veldig grei. De jeg har avvist har blitt avvist, og de med major revision har blitt forbedret og publisert. Har vel vært fagfelle på en 20-30 tidsskrift, og må si jeg ble overrasket over at denne havnet på grå-lista. For meg har prosessen vært helt normal, med unntak av at det går fort. Det finnes sikkert svarte får blant editorene her også, men de har jeg ikke vært borti.
My experiences come from being both an author and a reviewer. As an author, I have had one article accepted (4 reviewers) and one article rejected (3 reviewers). So - yes - it is possible to get rejected in this journal. I am living proof of that. I have also done 13 reviews, and several of these articles were ultimately rejected. I can furnish documentation (screenshots, emails, etc.) if NSD is interested.
this is aligned with my experiences also.
As co-author of an article published in the journal in 2021, I experienced a good and solid process, with three reviewers who gave relevant and clear feedback. After our revision of the article, we were accepted and received a final proof reading with some minor comments from the reviewers. These were corrected in the last round and the article published. The journal Sustainability appears to me in no way different from other journals I have published in, with the exception of the time frames. And I consider the shorter time frames positive as long as reviewers and writers can ask for more time when needed, and that they can.
I have had exactly the same experiences, and completely support the comment regarding timely turnaround that does not adversely affect the quality.
Jeg har vært medforfatter på to artikler publisert i Sustainability i henholdsvis 2016 og 2021.

I 2016 ble det bruk to referees og det ble gjennomført to runder med revidering hvor referees var involvert i prosessen.

I 2021 var det 5 referees involvert og tidsskriftet hadde tatt i bruk et skjema for tilbakemelding fra referees. Også denne gangen måtte manuskriptet endres. Vi ble forespurt om vi ville at referee kommentarene skulle publiseres sammen med artiklen men takket nei til dette. Alle referee hadde mindre (minor) kommentarer. Det gikk derimot veldig kort tid fra vi sendte inn revidert manuskript til det ble akseptert. Grunn til dette kan være at editor tok beslutning om aksept og at referees ikke var involvert i og med at det var mindre kommentarer. Vi fikk tilsendt proof med kort frist som også ble gjennomgått av oss forfatterne, samt en oppfølgings e-post om videre prosess for publisering hvor det også ble forespurt om vi hadde ytterlige endringer til proof.

Kontakt med editor var i begge tilfellene god.
as both guest editor and author, I agree with this entry.
I have published one article in a special issue of Sustainability where I was the leading guest editor in spring 2021. Prior to being a guest editor, I reviewed four or five manuscripts in the years 2018-2020. Two times I rejected the papers, but I do not know if they were accepted later after resubmitting. From my experience from being a reviewer, guest editor and author, I believe the journal has acted overall Professional. As a leading guest editor all the manuscript had to pass the guest editors' (our) approval before it was sent to at least three reviewers (with PhD). As guest editors we also had to approve the reviewers before the reviewing process commenced. The reviewers had to do the review within ten days, however longer time was accepted if needed. The authors were also given a fairly short time (I believe ten days) to respond to the reviewer’s recommendations, but again more time was given if requested. And this happened several rounds until we as guest editors accepted the latest version of the manuscript. As an author this reviewing process improved my paper to a large extent. As author I suggested the reviewers of my own paper, but this was quality approved by the journal's editor before sent to reviewing. The reviewers I suggested had to be on the reference list of our manuscript. I think that was a very good practice to assure that a proper reviewer of the research field was used. The paper had to be run through a proofreading service before publication. The journal leaned to a large extent to the guest editor’s and reviewer’s expertise in the research field, which may vary widely for all kinds of publications. I learned a lot about research quality during the publication processes and from being a guest editor of thirteen papers in the special issue of Sustainability.
this is aligned with my similar experience as guest editor.
I have co-authored one article in a special issue of Sustainability spring 2021. I experienced a solid academic process with three reviewers giving relevant and critical feedback and an editor that led the process with a firm hand. It differed from other journals in the intensity and pressure on reviews and revisions (and thus the total time from submitting the paper to publishing), but not in the rigor of the reviews. I have been reviewer in journals like Operations Management Research, Systemic Practice and Action Research, and Production Planning & Control. I now first handed that a time horizon of five months doesn’t mean more rigorous reviews. I think other journals could learn from the processes.
I have 1) published two articles, 2) been a guest editor and 3) have given reviews for the journal. I have also published, been a guest editor and given reviews for other international journals at Norwegian levels one and two. My experience of 1) being an author in Sustainability was very positive. Four anonymous reviewers reviewed the articles, and all of them provided independent comments to develop the articles. The editor was efficient, constructive and followed up rapidly in a very professional way so that the articles were developed for publishing. As a guest editor, I experienced an excellent system and professional follow-ups. As guest editors, we experienced that we could choose reviewers from their database of reviewers, and we could add new ones based on our judgment. When we got contradictory feedback from reviewers, we could discuss with the main editors to find solutions. The journal always accepted our decisions, whether it was rejection, minor, major or accept. On some occasions, an article was proposed to another guest edition that was better math. As guest editors we also experienced that the journal would not accept Phd students as sole authors, instead, they recommended that PhD students should co-write with supervisors. As a reviewer, I found their system highly professional and always following my decisions and recommendations. Since I have experience from many journals, I can compare; in my experience Sustainability has skilled editors, professional routines and smooth systems. I think many journals can learn from their systems.
I have published one article in this journal and have reviewed more than twenty papers during the last two years. My own paper, which I published with some other colleagues from my department, was reviewed by four anonymous reviewers and all of them provided independent comments to develop the paper; and in the light of those comments we revised the paper and provided detailed responses to the reviewers' comments. When it comes to my reviewing experience for this journal, the editorial committee always respected my recommendations for rejection of a particular paper, or major or minor revision.
My very recent experience with the journal Sustainability is as corresponding author of an article. I was surprised to find that the article was peer reviewed by five different reviewers, at least two of which obviously had expert knowledge of the particular interdisciplinary field our article was part of and gave very thorough and helpful comments. The dialogue with the editor assigned to our text was swift and professional, and my one concern regarding the finalised layout of one of the tables was immediately taken into account and changed to my satisfaction.
I am researcher in the field of health care and have the career of author, reviewer and editor in various international journals. Given this specific journal, I have published only one article in 2020 in there and found the process of review and editorial decision very rigorous. Three times my article was sent back with a bunch of reviewers’ and editor’s comments, which finally my revisions led to acceptation. Of course, from a journal with an impact factor around 3, such an annoying review process was expected.

I can remember that I made 10 reviews on articles in 2020 submitted to this journal and in all review cases, at least 2-3 reviewers participated. In all cases that I have requested a rejection, the journal supported it and also the report or revision would be sent to me to be checked and make the final decision. Even if, another reviewer gave the acceptation decision, the editor waited for me to check the author’s responses to my comments and make the decision. Of course, this is my experience with this journal!

I do not know what has happened recently in this journal as I have not been involved in reviewing articles for this journal in the last 9 months and if any change has happened in the tradition of editorial process in this journal.

What I can see from the comments by others about this journal, is something that I have experienced similarly with many other journals published by ‘Wiley’ and ‘Sage’ publishers. I have reviewed for some journals, and asked for rejection, but my comment was ignored and conversely I asked for acceptation and the editor did not take care of it. Even the topic of the submitted article was out of the journal’s aim/scope and I requested rejection, but the editor accepted it!

Although I agree that these issues mentioned by others should be taken care about and feedback to the journal should be sent, I hope our personal experiences, either positive or negative, should not be taken to blacklist a journal or give full support to it. This positive support comes with my experiences of publication with some journals that have Nivå 2 on NSD, but their qualities are in some cases are under many journals with Nivå 1. As I said, this is my experience with these journals!

Therefore, the collective experience of a random sample of representatives of authors/reviewers working with these journals should considered for making any decision.

I have not published in the MDPI journal Sustainability but I have reviewed a paper recently. I was asked to do the review in a mail from the editor of the issue and given the choice to accept or decline after looking at the manuscript. The journal asked for a review within 10 days, which of course puts a certain pressure on the reviewer, but asked for feedback if I required more time. I did, however, not ask for more time.

My recommendation was a major revision of the manuscript. After a some time, I received the revised manuscript with changes marked and a separate form where the authors replies to my comments were given. In this second round, I was asked to assess the changes and answers from the authors and give a renewed recommendation within 3 days.

Compared to my experience as a reviewer for other journals, also on level 2, the steps in the review process and information from the journal where the same. The short deadlines are noticeable and may be of concern with regards to the quality of a review. However, shortening the time from first submission of a manuscript to publication compared to "traditional" practice also has it's benefits.
agreed. plus, my experience as a reviewer is that I often set a review aside until the due date, which could easily have been shorter.
The journal "Sustainability" is classified in the new category X. Here is my comment on this: The journal "Sustainability" published 10650 articles in 2020 (source SCIAMGO). In a considerable number of cases, authors are not required to submit a detailed response letter (they only mark the changes or track changes). In many cases, the reviewers are not informed of the decision of the editor/journal (only when accepted). The co-editor is usually silent. There is no notification from the associate editor like this one: "Thank you for reviewing the above referenced manuscript. With your help, I have reached a XXX decision on this manuscript . The anonymised comments to author, from all reviewers, are included below".
This is based on my experience (based on 35 reviews for “Sustainability”). It has happened to me that papers with serious deficiencies that I had rejected were forwarded to a new editor who accepted the paper. The electronic submission system makes it possible to invite hundreds of scholars in a short time based on keywords. The approach is inclusive, even junior scholars with little experience are qualified to write a review. I have to admit that they are very successful as a business model and have increased competition and pressure to reduce response times.

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