ISSN 0124-5376
Printed version

ISSNe 2539-200X


Scope and policy

Biota Colombiana is a periodic scientific journal that publishes original articles and essays about biodiversity of the Neotropical region, with emphasis on Colombia and neighboring countries. It is refereed by a minimum of two peer reviewers. It includes subjects related to botany, zoology, ecology, biology, limnology, conservation, resource management and use of biodiversity.

Manuscripts will be reviewed by at least two scientific peers. Results of peer review may include any of the following: a) accepted (it is assumed that no change, omission or addition to the article is required and may be published as presented.); b) conditional acceptance (the manuscript is accepted and recommended for publication only if indicated corrections are made; corrections may be minor and a second evaluation is not necessary or major and a second evaluation is necessary); and c) rejected (reviewer considers that the contents and/or form of the paper are not in accordance with requirements of publication standards of Biota Colombiana). For a manuscript to continue its editorial process, it must have been accepted by at least two reviewers.

Manuscript format and preparation

The submission of a manuscript implies the explicit declaration by the author (s) that the manuscript has not previously been published nor accepted for publication in another journal or other scientific dissemination body. The arbitration process has a minimum duration of three to four months from the receipt of the article by Biota Colombiana. All contributions are the sole responsibility of the authors and not the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute, the journal or its editors.

Papers can be written in Spanish, English or Portuguese, but we prefer contributions in English in order to have shorter publication times and greater visibility and impact. Manuscripts should not exceed 25 pages (with paragraph lines spaced at 1.5) including tables, figures and appendices. Of particular interest for this journal are descriptions of species new to science, new geographic records, thematic or regional species lists, inventories, databases related to biodiversity, biological collections and sampling reports.

Biota Colombiana receives scientific research articles, as well as notes, reviews, bibliographic novelties and data papers.

Manuscripts must be submitted through the online platform of the journal ( To complete the submission the main author for correspondence must register as an user and make only one submission per manuscript. New versions of the same submission during its editorial process must be submitted in the "Review" section under "Upload Author Version".

Coauthors must be added in "Submission Metadata". Author names should be written uniformly as they appear in other publications, and it is mandatory to include ORCID number for each author.

Sending of manuscripts

Preparation of manuscripts
Any word-processing program may be used to write the text of the manuscript (Word is recommended). To submit a manuscript, a cover letter that clearly indicates the following must be uploaded to the platform as a supplementary file:

  1. Full names, institutional affiliations, and e-mail addresses of all authors (please note that email addresses are essential for direct communication)
  2. Complete title of the article
  3. Names, sizes and types of files provided
  4. List of the names and e-mail addresses of at least four peers who are qualified to review the manuscript

**For information regarding the preparation of data papers, continue to “Details for Data Papers--> Preparation of Data Paper

Use of language

  • Manuscripts must be written correctly with a clear and concise style. Those with poor writing, punctuation or grammar will be returned to authors. Please seek assistance in writing and ask for help from a native speaker of the language you use in your paper.


  • Texts must follow the format of standard letter size paper, with 2.5 cm margins on all sides, 1.5-spaced and left-aligned paragraphs (including title and references). Do not right-justify text.
  • All pages must be numbered in the lower right corner.
  • Font must be Times New Roman, size 12, in all parts of the text, except tables (size 10). Manuscript must not exceed 25 pages, including tables, figures and appendices.
  • Avoid the use of bold or underlined font.
  • Scientific names of genera, species and subspecies must be in italics, as well as Latin technical terms (p. e. sensu, et al.).
  • Avoid underlining any word or title. Do not use footnotes.
  • For abbreviations and the metric system, use the standards of the International System of Units (SI). Leave a space between the numeric value and the measure unit (p. e. 16 km, 23 ºC). For relative measures such as m/sec, use m.sec-1.
  • When expressing a percentage, include a space between the number and the symbol (ctrl+shift+space).
  • Write the numbers from one to ten in letters, except when it precedes a measuring unit (p. e. 9 cm) or is used as a marker (p. e. lot 2, sample 7). Numbers greater than ten must be written in Arabic numerals. If numbers both lesser than ten and greater than ten appear in the paragraph, all should be written in Arabic numerals.
  • Thousands, millions, etc. should not be separated by commas nor periods (p. e. 54000). Use periods to separate decimals (p. e. 3.1416). Hours should be represented in military time from 0:00 to 24:00.
  • Years should be written without commas or periods (p. e. 1996-1998). In English months and days of the week are capitalized (January, July, Saturday, Monday), whereas in Spanish the first letter of months and days of the week are written with lower-case letters (enero, julio, sábado, lunes).
  • Cardinal points (north, south, east and west) must be written in lower case letters, and only be capitalized if used in abbreviation N, S, E, W or as part of a proper name (p. e. North Carolina). Correct use of coordinates is: 02º37´53´´N-56º28´53´´O. Elevation should be expressed as 1180 m a. s. l. and 1180 m s. n. m. in Spanish.
  • All abbreviations must be explained the first time they are used.
  • When citing in-text references, follow APA citation norms (American Psychological Association Publications Manual, Sixth Edition). Include last names of authors if there are only one or two authors, or the first author followed by et al. (in italics) if there are three or more authors. In the case of two authors, last names must be separated by “&” (p. e. Cochran & Goin, 1970). If many references are cited, they must be ordered chronologically and separated by semicolons (p. e. Rojas, 1978; Bailey et al., 1983; Sephton, 2001, 2001). Notice that a comma must be inserted after the authors and before the year (Acevedo, 2009).
  • Refer to all figures (graphs, diagrams, illustrations, photos) and tables without abbreviation (p. e. Figure 3, Table 1). All figures and tables should have uniformity in font and letter size.
  • Insert figures and tables in the text in the place where they should appear for publication.
  • Figures must be clear and have a good quality. Unnecessary complexities (such as 3D effects, frames, etc.) should be avoided. If possible, use only solid colors instead of textures. Letters, numbers or symbols must be in legible sizes.
  • The description of a figure must be placed below the figure; the description of a table must be placed above the table.
  • All figures must be sent as separate, high quality files in the step “Upload suplemmentary files”. For photos and digital figures, files must be in tiff, jpg or png format in a resolution not lower than 300 dpi. In the manuscript, they should be in low resolution.
  • Tables and appendices must have a simple and uniform structure. Footnotes in tables must be as superscript letters. Text in tables should be changed to 10 points. Avoid extensive tables with too much information and dividing lines. Upload tables as a separate Excel file in the step "Upload supplementary files".

** For information about the parts of data papers, continue to Details for Data Papers -> Parts of Data Paper.

  • Manuscripts must contain the following sections: title, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, conclusions (optional), acknowledgements (optional) and references. Supplementary material may be added if pertinent, but will only be available in the online version and not be included in the printed version.
  • Sections subtitles must be written in bold, with only the first letter capitalized. If sections have subtitles, they must be written in bold in the first line of the paragraph, separated by a period from the beginning of the paragraph.

Title: concise and explanatory, must clearly communicate what will be found in the article. Up to 15 words, preferably less. Do not include taxonomic authors of scientific names.

Abstract: summary of the article, with a maximum extension of 200 words. It must include objectives, methods, results and major conclusions of the study. If the article has a novel or extraordinary finding, it must be highlighted in this section. Abstracts must be written in two languages: Spanish or Portuguese, and English.

Keywords: up to five keywords. They must be complementary to the title (not repeated) and written in Spanish or Portuguese, and English. Words must be separated by periods and presented in alphabetical order. The use of thesaurus to find appropriate synonyms is recommended. Keywords must also be added as metadata on the online platform.

Introduction: presentation of the topic, with enough context to support the rest of the article. The main purpose or objective of the study must be made explicit in this section. Focus on the paper’s object, avoiding a presentation of the subject since the dawn of its discipline.

Materials and methods: detailed description of the procedure, with materials, location, dates, statistics, etc. This description must be sufficiently detailed, so that other researchers may replicate the study. If a novel procedure is used, it must be thoroughly explained.

Results: presents major findings in an organized and appropriate manner. Avoid the use of excessively long tables.

Discussion: most relevant, troublesome or novel points of the study are highlighted, and major results are explained in relation to the importance of the study and contributions to its field. Do not include statements that are not duly supported by the findings of the study.

Conclusions (optional): final reflections about the study, with a clear relation to its purpose and objectives, frequently pointing towards future actions and research. Avoid repeating here other parts of the manuscript.

Acknowledgements (optional): straightfoward and short paragraph between text of manuscript and references. Mention funding or support of the project. Avoid titles such as Dr., Lic., etc.

References: should be recent, relevant, international and sufficient to support the study. Avoid citing references for simple statements or well-established facts. Follow APA citation norms (American Psychological Association Publications Manual, Sixth Edition). The list of references must only include those that are cited within the text. Arrange the references in alphabetical order, and chronologically in the case of a single author. If there are many references of a same author (s) in the same year, add letters a, b, c, etc. to the year. Do not abbreviate names of journals. Include all authors. List of references must also be added as metadata on the online platform.

Citation examples

Article in journals:
Antonelli, A., Nylander, J. A., Persson, C. & Sanmartín, I. (2009). Tracing the impact of the Andean uplift on Neotropical plant evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(24), 9749-9754.

Gutiérrez, F. P. (2010). Los recursos hidrobiológicos y pesqueros en Colombia. Bogotá D. C.: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. 118 pp.

Cipamocha, C. A. (2002). Caracterización de especies y evaluación trófica de la subienda de peces en el raudal Chorro de Córdoba, bajo río Caquetá, Amazonas, Colombia. (Thesis). Bogotá D. C.: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología.

Technical reports:
Andrade, G. I. (2010). Gestión del conocimiento para la gestión de la biodiversidad: bases conceptuales y propuesta programática para la reingeniería del Instituto Humboldt. (Technical report). Bogotá D. C.: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. 80 pp.

Book or report chapter:
Fernández F., Palacio, E. E. & MacKay, W. P. (1996). Introducción al estudio de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Colombia. In Amat, G. D., Andrade, G. & Fernández, F. (Eds.). Insectos de Colombia. Estudios Escogidos. Pp: 349-412. Bogotá D. C.: Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales & Centro Editorial Javeriano.

Congress, symposium or workshop summary:
Señaris, J. C. (2001). Distribución geográfica y utilización del hábitat de las ranas de cristal (Anura; Centrolenidae) en Venezuela. Presented in Programa y Libro de Resúmenes del IV Congreso Venezolano de Ecología, Mérida, Venezuela. p. 124.

Law or decree:
Congreso de Colombia. (February 8th 1994) Ley General de Educación. [Ley 115 de 1994]. DO: 41.214.

Details for Data Papers

A Data Paper is a type of scientific publication that was designed to stimulate the publication of biodiversity data. Data Papers give academic and professional acknowledgement to those who participate, in one way or another, in the management of information about biodiversity, as well as highlight the existence and importance of data sets to the rest of the scientific community.

As its name suggests, a Data Paper describes a primary data set. Although a Data Paper is not, strictly speaking, a scientific research, it must contain relevant information about the data set (objectives, methods for data collection, funding, taxonomic and geographic coverage, etc.), along with its value and utility (basic or applied) for the scientific community (Chavan & Penev, 2011)1. The great advantage and novelty of this type of manuscript is that it is linked to the data set through a stable and trustworthy repository, the IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit). Also, the data set is supported by metadata also available through the IPT and linked to the Data Paper.

A Data Paper must be submitted only when the linked data are primary and original data that have a temporal and methodological restriction and are available in data aggregators such as SiB Colombia and GBIF. Data must be able to follow the Darwin Core (DwC) standard. Examples of such data sets include:

  • Project observations
  • Biological collections
  • Species lists
  • Genomic data
  • Samples
  • Inventories
  • Databases
  • Functional traits

Data sets that do not comply with the characteristics mentioned above will not be considered for publication as a Data Paper. Such is the case of compilations of biological records that come from secondary sources (p. e. from published literature).

Preparation of Data Paper (publication of data and creation of manuscript)

Since the purpose of a Data Paper is to describe all available data resources regarding biodiversity, it must always be linked to the data set it describes through an URL or DOI.

Information about how to generate and submit a manuscript in order for it to be considered as a Data Paper by using the tools and publication model of SiB Colombia is found below. It must be noted, however, that Biota also accepts Data Papers that link to data sets published in other known platforms as long as it is linked to a trustworthy repository and has an IPT link.

As other types of manuscripts that are submitted to the journal, Data Papers will be reviewed by peers and must comply with the same format specifications, citation norms and use of language. Similarly, Data Papers must also be presented with a cover letter, as mentioned in the present Guidelines for authors. Keep in mind that as soon as the manuscript is submitted and under evaluation, described data must be available in a public online repository with an adequate license of use and attribution.

Step 1

Data publication in SiB Colombia
SiB Colombia uses a publication model based on the IPT as its working tool. Using the IPT, the first version of the manuscript may be generated in rich text format (RTF), based on its associated metadata. This tool is available as long as the data set has been indexed by SiB Colombia and sufficient metadata are linked (more information on publication process of SiB Colombia may be consulted in

A. Registration of organisation. To publish through SiB Colombia, your organisation must be registered as a publishing partner. Consult this link to find registered organisations. If your organisation is not registered, adding an organisation is easy through the Registration Format.

B. Data standardization. Data must be structured in a table using the Darwin Core (DwC) standard. Download respective template that is appropriate for type of data or generate your template.

C. Data quality. Data quality must be verified and improved using available tools to identify and correct possible geographical, taxonomic or format errors, among others.

D. Online upload of data. IPT is a tool that shares different types of biodiversity data, as long as data are structured using DwC standard. To upload data to the IPT, you must have an existing user account in the available IPT of SiB Colombia. If you do not have an account, you may contact the SiB Colombia Coordinating Team (EC-SiB) ( and request an account.

E.Data mapping. Once the data set is uploaded, verify that it follows DwC elements. For more information, consult the IPT User Manual or contact EC-SiB.

F. Creation of metadata. Metadata structure is similar to that of a traditional research article. In this way, metadata have the same general structure of a Data Paper and thus facilitate the generation of the manuscript. In the metadata section of the IPT, all information that broadens the context of data must be included. There is a total of 12 sections to add information as metadata to describe the data set. For more information, consult the IPT User Manual or contact EC-SiB.

G. Publish resource and notify EC-SiB. Once all previous instructions are completed, IPT will activate the “Publish” option. Click on the button and send an e-mail to, in order to notify EC-SiB about your publication. The e-mail must have as subject “Published resource” and include:

  1. Name
  2. Name of organisation
  3. Name of published resource
  4. URL of general view of resource after publication

Now data are indexed by SiB Colombia and GBIF, and have a digital object identifier, DOI.

Step 2

Creation of manuscript for submission as Data Paper through IPT
The IPT used for publishing the data set generates a RTF manuscript that describes the data set. The link to the data set in the manuscript appears under the title “Data published through GBIF”. Here you will find step by step information about how to generate a manuscript based on the data set metadata published in SiB Colombia.

  1. On the resource homepage published in IPT, click on the RTF button to download the first version of the manuscript in rich text format, which may be opened in any text processor (p. e. Word) (Figure 2).
  2. The downloaded manuscript is in English. Necessary corrections to follow Biota guidelines must be completed on the template. Data Papers template may be downloaded here.
  3. Once the manuscript is adjusted with additional text, tables and figures, it may be submitted to the journal Biota Colombiana through its online platform, following steps of registry as a user. The complete editorial process is developed through this platform.

Step 3

Adjustments and corrections of manuscript for data paper
When a manuscript is submitted as a Data Paper, it will go through the same peer review process as other articles of the journal, with specifications for Data Paper evaluation.

After evaluation, and if the manuscript is accepted, it will be returned to the author with the comments of reviewers and the journal’s Editor so that respective modifications may be incorporated.

Figure 2. Metadata of a data set may be downloaded from the IPT as a RTF file, giving the first version of the manuscript that will be submitted to the journal.

As the author, you should do all corrections or modifications directly on the IPT metadata and not on the manuscript. In this way, the metadata of the linked data set are also improved by the peer review and editorial comments.

Once metadata in the IPT are improved, the resource publication must be updated so the changes are reflected. On the resource homepage of the published resource, click on the RTF button to download the improved version of the manuscript in rich text format that may be opened in any type of text processor (p. e. Word).

After the manual changes of additional text, figures and tables, and the corroboration that the manuscript follows all of the journal’s requirements, it must be sent again through the online platform of Biota.

Parts of a Data Paper

Data Papers differ from other articles that are published in Biota Colombiana in the sections it should include. These are available in an online template and listed below:

Title (Maximum 150 characters, including spaces)

Authors Name Surname1, Name Surname2, Name Surname3
1 Institution; 2 Institution; 3 Institution

Abstract (200 words maximum)

Keywords. Keyword 1, Keyword 2, Keyword 3. (Provide a maximum of 6 keywords avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, 'and', 'of'). These keywords will be used for indexing purposes)

Resumen (Máximo 200 palabras)

Palabras clave. Palabra 1, Palabra 2, Palabra 3. (Máximo 5 palabras clave, evitar palabras que ya estén en el título del manuscrito y palabras en plural. Estas palabras claves serán usadas para propósitos de indexación)

Introduction (Must include the general scope of the study, methods employed and data generated, including contextual information of previous work and published literature. Here all the necessary cited literature must be included. Also briefly describe the purpose of the study and the goals for data collection, as potential uses for reutilization. Avoid summarizing results. This section must be added manually and is not generated automatically from the IPT.)

Project description
Title. (Title of project in which data were obtained. This applies only if data were obtained under a single project.)
Project personnel. (Name of principal project researcher)
Funding. (Information of project funding sources and relevant details (titles and funding identification, contract, names, addresses, active period, etc.)
Study area description. (Physical description of area of study were project occurred (location, habitat, temporal coverage, etc.). Study area does not have to completely correspond to geographic coverage of published data.)
Design description. (Description of design and objectives of the project (what research questions were studied, why was the area selected, etc.)

Taxonomic coverage
Description. (Description of taxonomic coverage of taxa represented in data. Description must be at the level of most representative taxonomic categories.)

Categories [At least one taxonomic category corresponding to description of taxonomic coverage]
Order. (Optional, orders included in data are listed)
Family. (Optional, families included in data are listed)
Genus. (Optional, genera included in data are listed)

Geographic coverage
Description. (Description of geographic coverage of data.)
Coordinates. XX°XX'XX''X and XX°XX'XX''X Latitude; XX°XX'XX''X and XX°XX'XX''X Longitude

Temporal coverage month day, year - month day, year

Collection data
Name of collection. (Complete name of collection by which it is known)
Collection identifier. XXX
Parental collection identifier. (Unique collection identifier for parental collection. Allows for a collection hierarchy. Write “Does not apply” if there is no parental collection.)
Specimen preservation methods (Keywords of Specimen preservation methods in IPT, indicating process or technique that was used to prevent specimen deterioration. If collection has more than one specimen preservation method, select the one that is predominant.)

Materials and methods
Study area. (Description of physical and temporal conditions of the study area.)
Study description. (Description of protocol used during study, which resulted in data).
Quality control. (Description of methods used to measure and report quality of data produced by methods.)
Step description. (Step by step description for methods to obtain data. Description should clarify how data were obtained and processed, so that others may understand their nature and possible use.)


Data description
(Description of data in which notable aspects are highlighted, but no hypothesis or interpretations are included.)

Resource URL. To access latest version of data:
IPT. (URL of resource published through IPT)
Data Portal. (URL of resource published through SiB Colombia Portal)
GBIF Portal. (URL of resource published through GBIF portal)

Name. Darwin Core File resource name
Language. (Spanish, English, Portuguese)
Character code. UTF-8

File URL. To access version of data that was used for this article:
(URL al recurso en el Editor de Manuscritos de la revista)
File format. Darwin Core
Version of file format. 1.0
Hierarchy. Dataset

Date of data publication. AAAA-MM-DD
Metadata language. (Spanish, English, Portuguese)
Date of metadate creation. AAAA-MM-DD
Copyright. (From published resource in SiB Colombia.)

Acknowledgements (Optional. Brief text that acknowledges collaborators that did not author manuscript. Funding sources may be included. Avoid academic titles.)

References (List of references cited in text, using citation norms of jounal Biota Colombiana APA 6th version. See guidelines for authors of journal.)

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