Frontiers announce 600 redundancies

    • Reorganization for a first-class publishing service securing quality at scale 
    • A proposed reduction of 600 roles across 23 countries 
    • Optimizing our management framework to react rapidly to market shifts 
    • New solutions to drive the open access transition to the tipping point  

    Frontiers announces a strategic reorganization and team resizing to focus on researcher-centric, technology-empowered teams to provide a first class publishing experience and secure sustainable quality publishing at scale. This change marks the next chapter in our journey to make open access the default science publishing model.   


    The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore several transformative trends in science publishing:  

    • An increase in article submissions during the lockdown highlighted the speed with which the scientific community can respond to save the day when faced with a global crisis,  
    • A preference for open access as the immediacy of sharing knowledge became the obvious author choice,  
    • A notable increase in submissions to Frontiers’ Research Topics, demonstrating researchers’ needs to combine disciplines in new ways, free from the constraints of traditional journal structures, to address urgent questions more quickly. 

    The pandemic also brought along an industry-wide trend for more fraudulent manuscripts. Frontiers responded with sweeping audits of its articles, journals, and Research Topics, introduced additional research integrity controls, and deployed AI-powered quality checks. These additional controls led to an increase in rejection rates, underscoring our commitment to quality – see quality at Frontiers for more details on our response. 

    By the end of the pandemic, the publishing market saw a downturn. This reinforced the importance for resilience and agility amidst market shifts.  

    These insights prompted a major reorganization in Frontiers throughout 2023 to form multi-expert teams empowered with AI technology to provide the full spectrum of publishing services tailored to our more than 2,000 academic communities. We also optimized our operational model and management framework to easily adapt to changes in the market.  

    In the current market conditions, we are increasing efficiency further by proposing to significantly resize our workforce of about 2,000 employees across 23 countries to about 1,400 employees. Together with the management and operational changes made in 2023, this makes Frontiers a leaner and more agile organization, with enhanced financial resilience amidst market shifts.  

    The changes also allow us to preserve our significant sponsorship of academic communities:  

    • Our inclusivity program that subsidizes article costs to ensure that no author is left behind,  
    • Our editor and reviewer recognition and awards program,  
    • Our continued advocacy for open science on global challenges,  
    • Our free to publish-and-access journal for kids that is preparing the next generation on the latest science,  
    • The Frontiers Planet Prize that aims at mobilizing scientists to protect the planet from crossing irreversible tipping points. 

    Frontiers is ready for the future. During the pandemic, governments recognized the importance of science when faced with a global crisis and of open science to accelerate solutions. They responded with increased investments and mandated open access to articles and data. We are also anticipating a shift in authors’ preference for open access as it becomes ever more evident that it is the right thing to do. We expect that this, combined with the potential acceleration in science that AI may bring, will lead to increased growth in scientific output over the coming years. 

    Why is open access so urgent? 

    Despite the encouraging shift to open access during the pandemic, the open access transition is not progressing fast enough for science to make a significant contribution to other global challenges that humanity faces, or to enable a green economy on time (see A Race Against Time).  

    Our Frontiers Foundation therefore launched the Open Science Charter calling all publishers to transition to the fully open access model with adherence to quality peer-review and with a transparent pricing model based on quality of services provided.  

    We also introduced the flat fee agreement as an industry-first solution to allow institutions unlimited open access publishing as an alternative to the article processing charge (APC) and subscription model. The two first national agreements were made between Frontiers and the German Library Consortium and Swedish Library Consortium. This Transformed Agreement brings stability, transparency, and affordability to institutional library budgets. 

    Dr Kamila Markram, Frontiers’ CEO, stated: “Our organization thrives on the passion and expertise of its people, and I am confident that these changes will empower us to amplify their contributions to open science publishing. I am sad we need to let go of so many talented colleagues and I am very grateful for their invaluable contributions to making science open. It has been the most difficult decision in Frontiers history. But we need to shape a Frontiers primed for the future. This signifies a more agile and efficient model for open access publishing to serve the global community of researchers, institutions, and funders. By providing an open access publishing service based on quality, we can boost sharing of scientific knowledge, foster global collaborations, accelerate the innovation cycle, increase return on investment in science, and build public trust in science. Society must not wait any longer for open access to science.”