Focus and Scope

Over the past decade, JTBC has published 15 issues (http://jurcon.ums.edu.my/ojums/index.php/jtbc/issue/archive). The average page length of the articles is 12 pages (± SD 8 pages). Among these, most of the articles were from Malaysia, followed by other Southeast Asia countries. JTBC accepts articles from a variety of tropical biology research fields. Most of the articles fall into the subject categories of “Biodiversity Conservation”, “Ecology”, “Entomology”, “Plant Sciences”, and “Zoology”.

Peer Review Process

JTBC adopts a single-blind peer review while encouraging the reviewer to waive anonymity. JTBC requires the corresponding author to submit a cover letter to state conflict of interest, and agreement from all co-authors. JTBC adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines (www.publicationethics.org) and reserves the right to retract articles which are found to be fraudulent.

JTBC always seeks dedicated and competent reviewers to evaluate and give constructive comments on a submitted manuscript: whether its research questions and hypotheses are justified with sufficient background information, whether its experimental design, experiments, data collections are performed in a reproducible manner, whether its data analyses and statistics are done correctly. The findings of every research, regardless to its novelty, impact or size, are worth to be published as long as the research was done according to the required scientific method.

Reviewer reports and the editor’s report will be made available to the author so that the manuscript can be improved based on constructive comments. Editors of JTBC require authors response specifically and accurately to the all reviewer's comments in a rebuttal letter. In addition to the rebuttal letter, authors are also required to submit a clean revised manuscript with line number and a marked-up copy of the changes made from the original manuscript with "Track Changes' file. Lastly, the Editor makes the decision whether the manuscript will be accepted in JTBC or will need to be reviewed again.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate free access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

JTBC objectives

1. To foster the development of scientific publishing among regional budding scientists.

  • Provide a platform as a scientific publishing training ground for budding researchers, such as students and local scientists.
  • Improve science literacy among young scientists through a constructive and rigorous peer-review and editorial process.

 2. To publish scientifically correct biodiversity related research regardless of its importance, novelty or impact.

  • Focus on biodiversity research in Sabah, Southeast Asia and other regions in the tropics.
  • Publish biodiversity data (such as checklist, distribution records) that are usually not published in prestigious journals or published in the appendix only.
  • Adopt open access policy and various publication mediums to increase the accessibility and exposure of each research article.

Status quo of biodiversity related journals and the niche of JTBC

 In fact, there are at least 567 ISI listed journals that publish articles belonging to the above mentioned five research categories. Among these, only three Southeast Asia regional journals are listed, namely, Asian MyrmecologyRaffles Bulletin of Zoology and Sains Malaysiana. There are at least another 20 non-ISI listed biological journals from Southeast Asia that publish articles related to the above mentioned subject categories. Hence, tropical biologists could publish their research findings in one of the ca. 600 journals.

A quick survey in Web of Science for the articles shows that there are 8200 articles of the above mentioned five subject categories published between 2005 and 2014 from Southeast Asia. Together with the ca. 3000 articles that were published in non-ISI listed journals (by presuming 15 articles published per year for each journal), there could be around 1100+ research articles published each year in those five subject categories from Southeast Asia.

Judging from the total of Southeast Asia tropical biologists’ yearly research output (ca. 1100 articles) and number of the suitable journals (ca. 600), it is clear that there should be plenty of options and opportunities where tropical biologists could publish their work. However, these journals also accept papers from biologists outside of Southeast Asia, and most of the ISI-listed journals accept only “big”, “important” and “novel” articles in order to maintain their “prestige”, which could be measured by Impact Factor. During this selection process, many “small”, “secondary” and “conventional” articles by regional biologists, many of who are lagging in scientific literacy and have less research resources, fall into disuse, even though these articles are scientifically accurate.

This situation does not help in the development of scientific literacy among biologists and does not contribute to conservation activities from this region. Regional biologists would be discouraged by rejection from journals despite research done correctly. Many of these research findings, such as biodiversity checklist or small scale ecological research, might eventually be published in grey literature but the important biodiversity information could have very little visibility and become obscure for others to read and reuse in conservation.

In view of the above mentioned current scientific publishing atmosphere, and limitations of regional biologists that lead to a predicament to publish, there is a pleading of urgency for a journal that could publish these “small”, “secondary” and “conventional” research that are scientifically correct. At the same, the journal should with a constructive peer-review policy guide and help authors to improve their scientific literacy. Finally, the journal should ensure the published articles with important biodiversity information are available for free and widely for anyone to read and reuse.

Hence, JTBC could occupy this niche by providing an avenue where “small”, “secondary” and “conventional” but scientifically sound research articles can be published, and by guiding authors, especially students who are the greenhorn in scientific publishing, to improve their manuscript through a constructive peer-review process. While serving the authors on the basis of these values, JTBC must uphold scientific integrity through the rigorous peer-review process, pleasant production process and an effective publication strategy to ensure the science and publishing quality of the articles.

Journal History

Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation (JTBC) was established by ITBC under sponsorship of the BBEC programme in 2005. The major aims for JTBC are to provide a platform for communication among researchers under the BBEC program and to provide a platform for local scientists and students to publish their research findings. After the BBEC programme ended in 2006, JTBC is published through  financial support from ITBC.