History

With a vision to make science open and peer-review rigorous, transparent and efficient, Frontiers has been supported by hundreds of thousands of researchers to become one of the most-cited, largest and fastest-growing Open Access Publishers and Open Science Platforms.

Where it all began

Frontiers was founded in 2007 by Henry and Kamila Markram, two neuroscientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. Their vision is to empower researchers in the scientific publishing and communication process and make quality-controlled science freely available for the benefit of humanity.

They launched Frontiers with a very clear goal: harness the power of technology and create an Open Science platform that truly serves researchers’ needs and empowers them in the scientific publishing process.

Henry and Kamila are the main shareholders in Frontiers. Henry is a full-time neuroscientist at the EPFL, director of the Blue Brain Project and founder of the EU’s Human Brain Project. Kamila is a neuroscientist, autism researcher and Frontiers’ Chief Executive Officer, who, together with the Management Team, runs day-to-day Frontiers operations.

Our award-winning Open Science platform addresses the publishing challenges faced by the academic community and provides solutions to effectively review, publish and communicate research findings.

The evolution

2007. Frontiers is launched as a not-for-profit foundation, the Frontiers Research Foundation, relying on philanthropic donations to operate. The foundation continues to exist today, supporting purely philanthropic initiatives, such as Frontiers for Young Minds.

2008. Operations are taken over by Frontiers Media SA, a company created by the founders to enable long-term economic and operational sustainability. The Gold Open Access business model is adopted.

The same year, Frontiers receives an investment from Kaltroco, the private holding company of the Koltes family. They strongly support the vision to make science open and their investment kick-starts the ensuing growth of Frontiers.

2012. Frontiers becomes financially self-sustainable with the Article Processing Charges business model.

2013. The Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (at the time owner of Nature Publishing Group and now majority shareholder of Springer Nature) makes an investment in Frontiers, enabling further growth of the Open Science vision. The two organizations run as independent businesses.

2018. Frontiers publishes its 100,000th article, which have been viewed and downloaded over 500 million times.

The future

The spirit behind Frontiers - shared by its founders, investors, employees and editorial boards - is a long-term vision to make all of science open. We want to enable society to generate knowledge faster and more efficiently and ultimately accelerate innovation, health and prosperity for all.

As such, from the outset, all revenues generated have been re-invested to consistently grow our tools and services for researchers across the entire academic spectrum and allow more communities to benefit from high-quality Open Access. We will continue to expand our palette of services to further enable our authors, reviewers and editors to benefit from the advances in technology and Artificial Intelligence.

The fundamental measure of success will ultimately be the full transition to Open Access as the default method of publishing quality-controlled research findings. Thanks to the relentless work of the incredibly talented and dedicated people who work at Frontiers, as well as the phenomenal participation of research communities, we are confident that together we can make the future of science fully open.

Timeline

2019

Milestones

8 new institutional members

2 new integrations:

2018

Milestones

100,000 articles published

500 million article views and downloads

80,000 editorial board members

1,500 Research Topic e-books published

52 new institutional members

National deals Two, first-of-its-kind, fully transparent national Open Access agreements with universities in Austria and Sweden.

1 new integration:

Innovations

  • AIRA - Artificial Intelligence Review Assistant: The next generation of peer review in which AI and machine learning enable more rigorous quality control and efficiency in the peer review.
  • My Frontiers: A new editorial interface that helps authors, editors and reviewers to easily track the status of their manuscripts and assignments.
  • New submission system: Streamlined and super-easy submission process for authors
2017

Milestones

24 new institutional members

New office in Brussels opens

Innovations

  • AI powered reviewer recommendations: Improved suggestions for editors on the editorial board experts most relevant to manuscripts.
2016

Milestones

50,000 articles published

1,000 Research Topic e-books published

8 new institutional members

Awards:

New office in London opens

Frontiers Events:

Innovations

  • Editorial Contributions: Editorial roles showcased on Loop profiles, providing visibility and accreditation for editorial contributions.
2015

Milestones

30,000 articles published

500 Research Topic e-books published

16 new institutional members

New office in Seattle opens

Frontiers Events:

2 new integrations:

Innovations

  • Research Topic Metrics: Article views and downloads on all articles aggregated at collection level.
  • Frontiers Research Network - Loop: Network and profile pages redesigned to maximise author impact and integrated with ORCID and other partners.
2014

Milestones

20,000 articles published

50,000 editorial board members

200 Research Topic e-books published

17 new institutional members

1 new integration:

Innovations

  • Frontiers Collaborative Review Forum: Improved online experience for reviewers and editors.
  • Article pages: Newly designed pages with improved look, performance article
  • impact.
  • Research Topics: Newly designed pages placing more focus on the researcher.
2013

Milestones

The Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, at the time owner of Nature Publishing Group and now majority shareholder of SpringerNature, makes an investment in Frontiers and a Holtzbrinck representative is appointed to the Frontiers Board of Directors.

10,000 articles published

New office in Madrid opens

Innovations

  • Frontiers for Young minds: Free open-access science journal for kids, reviewed by kids.
2012

Milestones

5,000 articles published

Innovations

  • Frontiers Research Network: Profiles enriched with ability to connect with and stay up-to-date with researchers and content.
2011

Milestones

20,000 editorial board members

Innovations

  • Author-Level Metrics: Article views and downloads on all articles aggregated at author level.
2010

Milestones

1,000 articles published

10,000 editorial board members

Innovations

  • Digital Editorial Offic A dedicated online cockpit for editors to manage their journals, enormously enhancing efficiency, oversight and quality control.
  • Profile Showcasing published work and career achievements for all authors, editors and reviewers and integrated into all articles and journal pages.
  • Community Platform: Profiles enriched with multi-media tools, including events and videos.
  • Commenting functionality & post-publication review: On all articles and multimedia content.
2009

Innovations

  • Research Topics: Frontiers introduces the concept of Research Topics, themed article collections around trending research and organized by leading researchers
2008

Milestones

Gold Open Access business model is adopted.

The open-access journal series, Frontiers in Neuroscience, opens for article submissions.

First investment from Kaltroco, the private holding vehicle of the Koltes family, kick-starting growth. A Kaltroco representative is appointed to the Board of Directors.

Innovations

  • Online publishing platform: Frontiers builds an IT platform to manage author registration, article submissions, review, publication and evaluation. The Frontiers publishing platform includes, amongst other features:
    • Collaborative Review Forum: an innovative online platform for peer-review, engaging authors and reviewers in a structured online dialogue, and allowing for fast article processing.
    • Article-Level Metrics: a new and objective way to measure the impact of research discoveries. Frontiers is the first publisher to launch quantitative article metrics based on views and downloads of articles.
2007

Milestones

Frontiers is founded by Henry and Kamila Markram, two neuroscientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).

First registered user during closed beta.

17 articles are submitted to Frontiers in Neuroscience and published during closed beta.