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Frontiers Reviews

Updated 13 November 2017
28 reviews

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2.8
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Frontiers CEO Kamila Markram
Kamila Markram
19 Ratings

28 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great company to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Frontiers full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Young and nice environment to work in, lots of possibilities for career growth and promotion

    Cons

    There are really no cons although the salaries could be a bit higher


  2. Helpful (7)

    "Stop hiring PhDs - very limited growth possibilities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Frontiers full-time

    Pros

    The company is young and international, you get free snacks and coffee and a barbecue once a year. Most people are friendly, with some notable exceptions. Great team spirit in some teams. Very relaxed working atmosphere for the most part, no real pressure.
    They send you to conferences , sometimes even abroad (without proper training though, so it could be stressful).
    The location is pretty, just next to the lake.
    Non-challenging 9 to 5 job, no need to stress or work late hours, perfect for people with children. Otherwise, only recommended to undergrads that want a bit of "editorial" experience on their CV to move to better and greater things.

    Cons

    Frustrating if you have any ambition because of the VERY limited career growth possibilities in most of the Lausanne office teams. Loyalty is rewarded more than talent, leading to inexplicable promotions of lacklustre employees - they have just been in the company long enough. Because of this, most of the senior managers lack talent (and some are real bullies). This also means that career growth is limited: you may get promoted once, only if somebody resigns and if you have been there for 1-2 years - and that’s the end of your career growth in the company.
    They often hire people with PhDs in the editorial team - PLEASE STOP. It is a 9 to 5 sales job, the journal's content is not in the editorial team's hands, so you really need no previous knowledge of the of the field.
    Very little chance for personal growth in the editorial office as well - no outside training was ever provided.
    Management seems very confused on how/where to grow, with continuous poorly announced major changes of roles and positions in some of the departments. Awful handling of internal communication. Less senior employees are never listened to.
    Last, pay is not very competitive for Switzerland, given most of the employees’ academic backgrounds.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your people - your senior management is far from perfect and should be taken care of. Stop hiring PhDs.


  3. Helpful (18)

    "AWFUL"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great team of international, young, hard working people.

    Cons

    Members of senior management are arrogant cowboys. They do not appreciate the talent they have. No focus on training or developing staff abilities. Huge emphasis on proving one's worth. No human decency.

    Advice to Management

    No advice. Beyond redemption.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "Only good for a first job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Specialist in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Specialist in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Frontiers full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Relatively young and international group (It's nice that many are from around the world so if you have just moved to Switzerland this is a group of people who will understand your situation)
    - Depending on your team, the company will pay for you to go to conferences
    - For the most part not a stressful job. It can easily be a 9-5 type of job
    - Good to have something on your CV when you first move to this country or if you are young because you can make this job sound better than it is (they don't want you to know that they hire anyone)

    Cons

    - Very unclean facilities. The bathrooms are the worst that I have ever seen anywhere.
    - The office is casual dress, which leads many people to abuse this. This is still an office environment so a certain level of professionalism should be upheld. I have seen mini skirts, bras, strapless tops, and walking around the office without shoes on many occasions.
    - The pay is very low by Swiss standards, which is why you can count the number of Swiss employees on one hand. The only ones that stay are those who cannot speak the local language well enough to work elsewhere.
    - Managers are chosen not based on skill or past experience, but rather favoritism. If you are one of the favorites you can do no wrong. It is very obvious who are the favorites at this company.
    - The company has little to no marketing practices, and in fact this team has actually recently been disbanded for having "different" views than the CEO. The department name has been changed from Marketing and Communications to just Communications.
    - Every week there is at least one person leaving the company, and very often not for a happy reason. Expect high employee turnover during your time at this company.
    - Managers are extremely negative and territorial so expect to not hear "good job" or "thank you" often...if ever. I am not sure if managers are so afraid their positions will be become redundant (constantly new people being hired) so this makes them act in an aggressive manner.
    -If you are looking for a professional environment then this is not the place for you.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees, and not just your favorites. We have repeatedly said we are unhappy, but little is being done to address this. A high turnover means something. Also keep in mind that a high turnover costs money so focus on making your current employees happy.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "IT"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Information Technology in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Former Employee - Information Technology in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    ° Manageable stress level
    ° Good quality of work condition
    ° HR
    ° International environment
    ° Free coffees and snacks
    ° Cutting-edge technology

    Cons

    ° Low salary
    ° Some departments are managed by non-enough qualified "manager"
    ° Lack of communication between managers slow down processes
    ° The turnover is too high, they need to find a solution

    Advice to Management

    Hire a CTO


  7. Helpful (6)

    "It could be a nice place to work..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Frontiers full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Young (10y) and international company.
    - Most people are really smart and friendly, with some notable exceptions.
    - If you are lucky (depending what team they put you on basically), you might be sent to a few international conferences per year.
    - Beautiful location by the lake.
    - Senior managers and HR seem to have a vision and it looks like they want things to improve.

    Cons

    If you are ambitious, the job can be extremely frustrating, as there are no real growth opportunities. And I do not mean just the lack of promotion possibilities; I mean that you will not learn too much in this office - you will spend all your day typing.

    As someone previously mentioned, loyalty is rewarded more than talent, leading to inexplicable promotions of unskilled employees. Hence, some of the so-called managers lack talent and leadership skills. They just have been in the company long enough and happened to be in the right place at the right time.

    They hire lots of people with PhD degrees, which I will never understand. It is a pure sales job – they should focus of hiring people with background in sales, marketing, communication, and/or management.

    An astonishing number of people in this company lack social and interpersonal skills. If you want to work in a professional environment do not even bother applying. The top management tried to implement a relaxed atmosphere at work, including casual dress code, but certain people (including some midrange managers), took it one step too far. At Frontiers, one can encounter people in flip-flops, hiking boots, jean shorts, and low-waist pants (some outfits really scream "gym" or "beach" and strangely no one seems to care about it). If you are “lucky”, you might also see unshaved female legs.

    Last but not least, pay is low by Swiss standards (no wonder that you can count Swiss employees on the fingers of one hand). They attract mostly young EU citizens that are tempted by salary that might seem great at first (in comparison to most EU countries), but once people get acquainted with the Swiss job market, they start looking for better positions, contributing to Frontiers’ ridiculous employee turnover rate.

    Advice to Management

    Look into what midrange managers do. You have so many talented employees that aren't noticed nor appreciated because of the big egos of their line managers.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Editorial Office"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting folks working there, and not a stressful job overall

    Cons

    I noticed that over the past months a number of unreliable reviews, both negative (i.e., fear and loathing) and positive, have been posted here. It's a pity, as previous ones were quite thoughtful and accurate. Here are some thoughts of mine. The tasks in the editorial side of the office used to be (not sure right now, but guess can't be too different) pretty boring, mechanical, and unrewarding. Pay is low by Swiss standard but most of the crowds (precisely for that reason probably) aren't Swiss; since salary (for permanent positions) is still better than in most EU countries, low wage tends to be an overlooked issue. Crowds get more sensitive to the topic when they get acquainted with the Swiss job market situation. Some recent reviews tried to dismiss complaints about Frontiers being a predatory published. Irrespective of whether Frontiers is such a thing, it might be worth keeping in mind that the perception of the value of Frontiers has gotten worse in academia and, I guess, beyond academia. This means that what working at Frontiers adds to the marketability and appeal of your CV has also decreased. Further, whilst arguably Frontiers is not a predatory publisher, I think that there are some serious issues that need to be highlighted. Whilst Frontiers has advocated open access in the past 10 years, little to nil has been done to advocate other aspects of open science, increasing transparency of research, data-sharing, and reproducibility of findings. Competitors, like Plos, have done much better on this side.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "A growing company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Frontiers full-time

    Pros

    Many possibilities to develop your career, lots of challenges, notable HR improvements over the past 3 years in terms of benefits, salaries and training. Talented and diverse co-workers, smart people and direct exposure to top professors and researchers.

    I find it bizarre that the negative Glassdoor reviews are either:
    - A blatant copy/paste of a post from a blogger who obsessively denigrates Frontiers with unsubstantiated claims. The review is very unlikely to be posted by a Frontiers employee
    - From people who claim that the company was sold, something which is pure imagination
    - From people who claim to be currently working at Frontiers and post very negative reviews. It's quite amusing such people are not able to make an impact with their skills, or to find a better position elsewhere.

    Cons

    I agree that the company should be careful with hiring too many PhDs. Work life is very different from doctoral studies, more structured and requires people to be able to cope with deadlines and the pressure that comes with it.

    Some parts of the platform are quite old and slow.

    Advice to Management

    Look past the negative reviews and realise your Open Science vision, the world badly needs it


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Journal Development Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Frontiers full-time

    Pros

    Junior managers (aka Journal Development Managers) have reasonable freedom to take initiative and experiment with different approaches. With that said, the sales quotas are very ambitious, so JDMs often find themselves instructed to take a conservative approach and use proven but not very exciting approaches.

    The staff is a smart crowd, with some very interesting approaches and ideas to be discovered if you just take the time to talk to your colleagues. So much potential here.

    As an aside, there seems to be some widespread confusion on this point, but claims that Frontiers is a so-called predatory publisher are blatantly false. The company offers exactly the service it advertises and displays the cost of publication up front. Publishing decisions are divorced from commercial aspects by the simple fact that the vast majority of editors and reviewers are unpaid volunteers, same as with traditional publishers.

    The company has its problems, which I have seen firsthand, but dishonest publishing practices are not one of them.

    Cons

    The turnover in the editorial program (the largest department in terms of staff) is outrageous, due in no small part to the relatively low pay. Journal Development Managers have very high responsibility and performance expectations, and are required to display resilience and skills that can and have secured ex-employees much more lucrative positions (upwards of 50%+ their Frontiers salary) at other Swiss companies. This is not idle speculation but something I saw myself, time and time again.

    Advice to Management

    Share some of the profits by upping the pay for your editorial program staff. The ROI on that will surprise you. On the other hand, if you keep chewing through talented people and discarding them after a year or two, you will find the competition overtaking you.


  11. Helpful (6)

    "Might be better...."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lausanne (Switzerland)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Very international, talented, young co-workers.
    Friendly work environment.
    Great chance for young graduates to get hands-on experience in scientific publishing.

    Cons

    Management lacks real skills in organizational management.
    Working across departments might be sometimes problematic.
    Too many technical and organizational changes within short term, simply hard to follow it.
    High turnover - lots of interns/newcomers and changing employees at certain departments.
    Professional development within company is limited.
    Negative complaints from contributors.
    It´s all about quantity rather than quality.
    Management faces an uphill battle, getting money out of others is never an easy task....but they know how to do it.

    Advice to Management

    They should focus on quality rather than quantity.


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