ISSN 0120-548X
print version

ISSN 1900-1649
online version



Scope and policy

Acta Biológica Colombiana is a publication of the Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. This jounal divulges original and unpublished results of basic and applied research about biological subjects. Acta Biológica Colombiana, is an Open Access Journal, which publishes original scientific manuscripts, short scientific communications and review articles. 

Advantages of publishing with us: 

1) Unrestricted open access First on-line (article is published as soon as it is accepted).

2) Fast review processing (the time from submission to on-line publication is less than six months).

3) High quality peer-review.

4) No processing charges for authors.


Form and preparation of manuscripts


Reviews. The majority of reviews will be requested by the editorial committee based on the expertise of the authors on the topic. This type of article relays the current state of knowledge on a particular topic in which the author has an established expertise. The maximum length is 30 pages, double spaced, in the Word file format. Reviews should have at least 50 relevant bibliographical citations, preferably from only the past decade.

Research articles. Research articles are scientific manuscripts that should include a summary, an introduction, materials and methods, results, a discussion, acknowledgements, and a bibliography. A maximum of five figures and/or tables and a maximum of 50 recent and relevant bibliographical citations are allowed.

Reflection paper. Reflection papers are writings in which the authors present a specific position on a particular topic, basing their argument on their own work and the relevant consulted literature. Reflections should contain between 30 and 50 bibliographical references.

Brief notes. Short notes are concise and critical commentaries regarding an original result in a topic, with a maximum of five pages. The text is written as one section, without divisions into introduction, materials and methods, etc. When it is strictly necessary, a maximum of two figures or tables may be included per paper. Short notes contain a maximum of 30 bibliographical citations.



Manuscripts submitted to Acta Biológica Colombiana for possible publication should be unpublished (not submitted simultaneously to any other print or digital publication). The authors are responsible for the opinions and ideas declared in the manuscript. The accuracy of the information included in the manuscripts, including figures, tables, and bibliographical citations, is the full responsibility of the author or authors.

For the manuscript to be considered, it must be submitted through the electronic Submission Form and fit the topic and formatting instructions of the journal. The submission procedure is performed only through the OJS platform of the journal.

Format. The document should be A4 letter sized (8.5" x 11"), double spaced, with 3 cm margins on all four sides and in Times New Roman 12 points font.

Language. Manuscripts are accepted in Spanish and English. Title, summary, and keywords should be provided in both English and Spanish. To increase the dissemination and visibility of results, it is suggested that manuscripts be presented in English.

The title page should include the following:

Title. The title should be concise but informative and not exceed 120 characters including spaces. For scientific names, write the taxonomic family in parenthesis after the name of the species. Do not add species author or year in the title.

Author(s). To maintain a blinded review process, the Word manuscript should not have any information about the authors. Author information will only be added in STEP 3 when the online submission takes place.

Abstract. The summary includes the main objective of the study, basic procedures (selection of study subjects and methods of observation and analysis), the most important findings (providing specific information or data and statistical significance whenever possible), and main conclusions. The most novel and most relevant observations and aspects should be highlighted. The maximum size is 250 words, and the summary should always be provided in both Spanish and English.

Keywords. A maximum of five key words, which should follow internationally accepted standards used for the purpose of compiling, should be provided. Do not include the title of the study (common and scientific names, concepts, etc.) Keywords should always be given in both English and Spanish and should be arranged alphabetically.

We recommend consulting the following:

For words in Spanish, consult the Scielo database

For keywords in English, you may consult the National Medicine Library of the United States or similar.



1. Section titles (ABSTRACT, INTRODUCTION, etc.) must be centered, in all capitals, and bolded. The primary and secondary subtitles should be left-justified and in bold; primary subheadings should be written in all caps, and secondary subheadings should be written with only the first letter capitalized.

2. Statistical terms should always be defined, as should abbreviations and symbols. For units of measure, use the decimal metric system, except in cited texts, and do not use periods after any abbreviation (e.g., mm, m, km, ha, l, etc.). When numbers are not followed by units, whole numbers up to ten should be written out (one, two, ten), and numbers greater than ten should be given as numerals (11, 12, 102). When numbers are used, they should be followed by a symbol, and a space should be left between the two (100 m, 50 mL). Lower case is recommended for symbols and abbreviations; some exceptions include: K for the Kelvin unit of temperature; the A for ampere, units of electric current; M for molar concentration; and the L for liter. No symbol should be expressed in plural; all symbols will be singular (km, m, etc.). For "p" values of statistical significance, the letter p should be used in lower case and italics.

3. If your study includes geographical coordinates, they are to be written according to the following abbreviated format: (4°46' N and 75°24' W). To express altitude, the abbreviation m.a.s.l. should be used.

4. In Spanish language manuscripts, the decimal points will be separated with a comma (,), and in English, a period (.) should be used.

5. Scientific names: Scientific names for taxa must be written in italics. Nomenclature must conform to the rules and recommendations of the pertinent international nomenclature code. The author and year of each taxon will only appear the first time it is mentioned in the manuscript text.

Scientific names are to be written out completely the first time they are used in the text. Subsequently, the genus name should be abbreviated, except when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.

Do not use any type of special lettering within the text. Abbreviations such as sp., nov. sp., spp. should not be italicized. Note that in Spanish, the word "taxón" is written with an accent (plural, taxones); in Latin, the corresponding terms are taxón and taxa.

1. Cite each figure and table in the text according to the order in which it appears using the following format: (Fig. 4) or (Figs. 4 and 5) or (Fig. 3A-3F) or (Table 1.).

1. Descriptions for new species. These must be presented in the following order: Species name (according to the stipulations of the pertinent International Nomenclature Code), type of specimen (holotype) with the number of the collection where it is deposited, name of collection, and exact location. Site of collection or capture (country, department/state/province), exact town, latitude, longitude, altitude, date, etc.; isotypes, allotypes, and paratypes (if they exist) along with collection data and location where they are deposited. Name etymology; data regarding its distribution and ecology; comments on its taxonomic neighbors, uses, or other pertinent observations.


This section should state the purpose of the study and summarize the logical grounds used to perform it. Only the most relevant references should be given, and it should not include data or conclusions of the study being published.


Precisely identify all reagents and equipment used (include the name of the manufacturer and the country in parentheses). Describe the procedures used in sufficient detail to allow other professionals to reproduce the study. Include methodology and statistical method references. Provide references and a brief description of methods that are already published but may not be well known. Describe new methods or those that have been substantially changed, and provide reasons for their use while evaluating their limitations.

Authors submitting the revised article should write a short, structured description of the methods used to identify, select, extract, and synthesize the information. When applicable, the authors should describe statistical methods with sufficient detail to allow readers to access original information and verify results. Whenever possible, findings with the appropriate margin of error or reliability (for example, confidence intervals) should be quantified and presented. Avoid relying only on statistical hypothesis tests, such as the use of "p" values, given that these omit important quantitative and qualitative information. Justify the selection of individuals participating in the study, detailing randomization, information about the possible complications of the intervention, number of observations made, and loss of individuals (such as losses in a clinical trial). Whenever possible, references for research design and statistical methods should be from existing studies, rather than from original studies where they were first described. If software was used, indicate and provide reference to the origin and permission for its use.


Results shall be presented in logical order and should highlight or summarize only the most important observations. The information contained in the text should not be repeated in tables and figures.


New and relevant aspects of the study should be highlighted. Authors should avoid giving detailed information and other material already provided in the Introduction or Results sections. New hypotheses should be established when clearly justified. When possible, recommendations on the topic studied should be included.


At least one conclusion paragraph should appear linked with study objectives, and unqualified statements should be avoided unless they are clearly supported by the data. Avoid using lists or loose phrases.


Mention financial sources of research projects and/or support received for performing the study (grants, equipment, reagents, etc.). You may name those people who have given intellectual support to the study but whose contributions did not justify co-authorship, and the contribution they provided will be described. For example, "scientific advisement," "critical review of the research study," or "data collection."


Only use citations that are strictly necessary. Before submitting the manuscript online, please check that all citations appearing in the text match those presented in this section and that they are correctly entered throughout the manuscript.

Avoid citing reviews presented at conferences and other meetings. References to studies accepted for publication but not yet published should be shown as "in press," indicating the name of the journal; the authors should obtain written permission to cite these studies and also have proof that they are accepted for publication. When it is absolutely necessary, unpublished information should appear as "unpublished observations" and always include written consent from those responsible for the information.

To the extent possible, avoid using expressions such as "personal communication" unless the citation provides essential information that cannot be obtained from published sources. In this case, the name of the person and the date of the communication should be listed in parentheses within the text.

In-line citations should be listed as follows:

Surname and initials of the first name of all authors. Order the bibliography alphabetically, beginning with the name of the first author.

One author: Lozano (1995) or (Lozano, 1995)

Two authors: Lozano and Barrera (1994) or (Lozano and Barrera, 1994). To connect the surnames in the case of two authors, use "y" for articles in Spanish and "and" in English. The "&" symbol should not be used.

More than two authors: Lozano et al., (1993) or (Lozano et al., 1993). Place only the surname of the primary author, followed by "et al." (use italics for et al.).

Accepted but unpublished articles:

Jones and Smith (in press) or (Jones and Smith, in press).

When several citations are used for the same concept, the citations should be arranged chronologically, and each citation should be separated by a semicolon. When several references in the text are used, they should be cited in chronological order (from the oldest to the newest).


(Clement and Grant, 1990a; Clement and Grant, 1990b; Wang and Morales, 2007; Wang and Morales, 2009; Mena-Segovia et al., 2009; Barroso-Chinea et al., 2011).


References should be organized alphabetically according to the paternal last name of the first author and in chronological order.


The surname and initials of the first name of all authors should be used and separated by commas (verify that they are correct and in the proper order, as they appear in the original publication). Following the authors names, the format should be as follows: the article title, the journal (abbreviated without periods), the year; volume (number or issue): pages. (NO SPACES).

If a publication has a digital object identifier (DOI), the respective DOI should be included in the reference.

-All authors are included if there are fewer than six total.

Nilsson S, Arup V, Baranowski R, Ekmons S. Tree-Dependent Lichens and Beetles as Indicators in Conservation Forest. Conserv Biol. 1994;9(5):1208-1215. Doi:

-For more than six authors: include up to six primary authors and then write et al.

Journal abbreviation titles should be written according to the style used by the NCBI journal database: Abbreviated titles for scientific journals are also available at: ISI Journal Title Abbreviations, Web of Science Help, and Journal Title Abbreviations Caltech Library.


ACTA BOTANICA MEXICANA is abbreviated Acta Bot Mex. (period only at the end)

JOURNAL OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY is abbreviated J Trop Ecol.


Books and other monographs

Book authors

Darnell J, Lodish H, Baltimore D. Biología celular y molecular. 5 ed. Barcelona: Editorial Labor S.A.; 1988. p. 255-256.

Note. Include the exact number of pages consulted. If an entire book was consulted, please indicate the total page number.


p. 111 (only page 111 was consulted).

p. 106-111 (pages 106 to 111 were consulted)

111 p. (111 pages were consulted, corresponding to the entire book).

Editor(s) and Compiler(s) as authors

Pankburst C, Doube BM, Gupta VV, editors. Biological Indicators or Soil Health. New York: CAB Internacional; 1997. p. 14-18

Organization as author and editor

FUNDACIÓN NATURA. Comprehensive plan for biological conservation and sustainable development in the municipality of Encino, Santander. Encino: Fundación Natura, Municipal Government of Encino; 2000. p. 26-29.

Authors of a book chapter

Jones C, Mcshea WJ, Conroy MJ, Kunz TH. Capturing Mammals. In: Wilson DE, Cole FR, Nichols JD, Rudran R, Foster MS, editor(s). Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity: Standard Methods for Mammals. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press; 1996. p. 53-78.

Note: For book chapters, the publisher and city of publication should always be listed.

Doctoral Dissertation (or similar)

Becerra MT. Influencia del disturbio antrópico sobre las comunidades de pequeños mamíferosdebosque seco tropical [Influence of anthropogenic disturbance on the communities of small mammals of the try tropical forest] (master's thesis). Bogota: Biology Department, School of Science, National University of Colombia; 1999. p. 78-96 or 96 p. (according to each case)

Dictionaries and similar reference works

Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 26th ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1995. Apraxia; p. 119-20.


Life zones or vegetation formations of Colombia, [vegetation map]. Agustín Codazzi Geographical Institute, Agrological Branch; 1977.

Unpublished material

In press

Leshner AI. Molecular Mechanisms of Cocaine Addiction. N Engl J Med. In press. 2014. Doi:

Electronic material

Journal article in electronic format

Morse SS. Factors in the Emergence of Infectious Diseases. Emerg Infect Dis [serial online] 1995 Jan-Mar. Available at: Cited: 5 Jun 1996.

Computer files

Hemodynamics III: The Ups and Downs of Hemodynamics [computer program]. Version 2.2. Orlando (FL): Computerized Educational Systems; 1993.


All illustrations, including photographs, diagrams, maps, and graphics, are classified as figures. The total number of figures and tables should not be greater than five (5). Figures should be used as an alternative to tables; please avoid redundancy in tables, figures, and text. Only the necessary number should be used to explain the argument of the study. Figures should be located at the end of the Word manuscript and should also be sent separately in one of the two image formats (.jpg or .tiff), at high quality, with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi and a size of 15 - 20 cm. Normal figures will be reduced to a size of 6 - 12 cm so that the legends are legible after shrinking. Color figures are accepted for the online version at no additional cost. However, an additional black and white version should be submitted for the print publication. The publication of color figures in the print version will be financed by the author(s). Do not send figures in PowerPoint format; if Excel tables or figures have been generated, we prefer to receive those files as Excel files or high-quality PDFs.

Detailed titles and explanations of figures should be included in the captions and not in the figures or tables themselves. Captions should be sufficiently descriptive.

The legend of each table should be placed above the table; avoid using color gradients, shading, excessive lines, different background types, and outlines. Nonstandard explanations and abbreviations should be included in footnotes at the bottom of the table or figure. Measurements of statistical spread such as standard deviation and standard error of the mean must be identified. Distinguish between column titles and data.

If drawings or diagrams are included, they should be presented in a professional manner. Hand drawn or typewritten drawings will not be accepted. Letters, numbers, and symbols should be clear and uniform. Photographs taken via microscope or stereoscope should have internal scale bars, and the scale should be included in the lower left corner of the figure. Symbols, arrows, or letters used in this type of photograph should clearly contrast with the background. The internal scale and identification of the staining used in photomicrographs should be shown in the figure caption.

Avoid using small, isolated figures: group related drawings or photographs in combined figures with letter titles (Fig. 1a, Fig. 3b, etc.). If an article has reproduced tables or figures (as from the same author), it is necessary to declare their origin and to show permission for their use. It is the responsibility of the authors to retain this permission.

Statements of ethics

Conflict of Interests

Acta Biológica Colombiana is committed to guaranteeing that the studies presented are free of all visible bias. The journal and its editors should account for all competing interests during the review process and assure that any related matters be declared in the published article.

The journal defines as a conflict of interest any matter that interferes or that could be reasonably perceived as interfering with complete and objective presentation, peer revision, editorial decisions, or the publication of research articles in the journal. Conflicts of interests can be financial or non-financial in nature, professional or personal, and may arise in relation to an organization or another person.

Thus, Acta Biológica Colombiana has the following requirements:

Anyone involved in authorship, financing, review, or writing decisions of the articles shown or readers who wish to comment on published articles must declare any pertinent conflict of interest.

1. Authors must declare all pertinent conflicts of interests during the review process.

2. Editors and reviewers must declare their own conflicts of interests, and if necessary, recuse themselves from participating in the evaluation of a specific manuscript.

3. Any reader commenting on studies published in Acta Biológica Colombiana must declare his/her conflicts of interest at the time of publishing his/her comments and/or ratings.

No article sent to Acta Biológica Colombiana will be published until conflicts of interest have been disclosed for all authors. Editors may request clarification on the declarations. The role of all financial sources of the study should be described, and the authors should explicitly declare whether the donor was involved in: study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of results, document writing, and/or the decision to publish. If the donor was involved, the role/contribution should be explicitly described.

Acta Biológica Colombiana may decide to not publish an article if it determines that the conflicts of interest declared by the authors or financial backers may have endangered the objectivity or validity of the study, analysis, or interpretations included in the manuscript. Acta Biológica Colombiana does not publish research articles if the editors are aware of any existing conflicts of interest that might introduce bias or a reasonable perception of partiality. Any failure to disclose a conflict of interest may result in the immediate rejection of the manuscript. If a conflict of interest is revealed after publication, ABC will print a formal correction or retraction on a case-by-case basis.


Authors should be aware of how to comply with the best ethical practices of publication, specifically with reference to authorship (for example, avoid ghostwriting or invited authors), the duplication of published results, plagiarism, manipulation of data, conflicts of interests, and following ethical research policies in accordance with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE):

Research on humans, animals, and plants

Indicate in the Materials and Methods section that you followed ethical guidelines when conducting studies or sampling that required approval from a committee or agency (institutional or regional) responsible for supervising research projects. Do not use proper names, initials, or the clinical identification numbers of patients. When experiments are performed on animals, it should be clearly indicated whether institutional or national research council directives were followed or whether a national law on the care and use of laboratory animals was taken into account. It is preferable to include the date and number of the law or of the relevant resolutions. Authors should be able to show, upon request, a declaration from the research ethics committee, institutional review board, or the corresponding authority showing approval of the study and the name of the institution. Permit numbers should also be included in the manuscript.

Sample declaration of ethics approval: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations of (place name of the guide followed). The protocol was approved by the Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee of the National University of Colombia (Permit number: 27-2956). All possible efforts were made to minimize suffering during individual sacrifices, using the following procedures: (describe the procedures followed).

For manuscripts including results requiring that samples be sent to biological collections, it is necessary to indicate the collection numbers and information about the collector, indicating the location where they were deposited, or where specimens or vouchers were consulted. For frozen tissues deposited in collections and DNA sequences deposited in databases, access numbers should also be included. Indicate the collection permit number and/or access to genetic material resources when available.

Availability of data

Acta Biológica Colombiana requires authors to provide unrestricted access to the data underlying the findings described in the complete manuscript. Publication is conditional upon the agreement of the authors to place any material or information described in the publication at the free disposal of others who have reasonably requested it (pooled data, metadata, materials, and software).

The journal defines the "minimum data set" as the set of data used to arrive at the conclusions described in the manuscript, the related metadata and methods, and all additional data necessary for fully replicating the findings of the studies reported. Descriptions of data, methods, and basic results of the study should be included within the primary document. ABC does not accept references to "data not shown." Editors and reviewers may require particular types of data for certain articles. Authors who have data sets that are too large to share via repositories or large files should communicate with the journal for editorial advice.

When submitting a manuscript online, the authors should present a declaration regarding the availability of data describing how ABC policies were met. If the article is accepted for publication, the data availability declaration will be published as part of the final article. Refusing to share data, metadata, and procedures in accordance with this policy will be grounds for rejection.

If new software or a new algorithm is necessary for a document accepted in the Acta Biológica Colombiana, authors should confirm that the software meets the definition of open coding and place the contents in an open source file; this information should be included in the manuscript as supporting information.

Sending of manuscripts

Authors should submit the manuscript through the journal's web page according to the Submission Form and the author guidelines. Once the submission is done authors must send the following forms to the journal's email


  1. Authorship Statement
  2. Conflicts of Interests Statement.
  3. Copyright Transfer Agreement.

If you have been notified by the Section Editor that your manuscript may be taken into consideration for publication, please send the new version of your manuscript according to guidelines and instructions from the Response to Editor. (Download here).

For more information about sending your manuscript online, go to the website:


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Oficina: 205. Departamento de Biología.