About the Journal


The Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation (JTBC) is a free, open-access, international, peer-reviewed journal published by the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). This journal publishes two main categories of papers: (1) full-length research articles or reviews; and (2) short notes or communications. The JTBC is devoted to the publication of research papers, reviews and short notes or communications in all fields that are of general relevance to tropical biology and conservation in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and other tropical regions in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. The scope of topics we publish include:

  • Taxonomy and biodiversity
  • Ecology
  • Natural product chemistry
  • Nature tourism

Focus and Scope

  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.
  1. To publish scientifically correct biodiversity-related research regardless of its importance, novelty, or impact.
  • Focus on biodiversity research in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and other tropical regions in Southeast Asia, and elsewhere.
  • Publish biodiversity data (such as a checklist, distribution records) that are usually not published in prestigious journals or published in the appendix only.
  • Adopt an open access policy and various publication mediums to increase the accessibility and exposure of each research article.


Publication Categories

a. Full-length articles or reviews (up to 8,0000 words)

Full-length articles are original works that follow the format of traditional research papers that will advance knowledge and understanding on taxonomy and biodiversity, ecology, natural product chemistry or nature tourism in Southeast Asia, particularly Borneo, that are hypothesis driven and based on the analysis of data. Data utilised in the paper to test hypotheses must be based on any rigorous, replicable approaches and can be (but not limited to) experimental, observational, genetic, etc.. Full-length articles or reviews possesses the traditional structure of a scientific paper with separate sections for the abstract; introduction; material and methods; results; and discussion.

Reviews must cover a topic of interest in fields that are of general relevance to tropical biology and conservation in Southeast Asia, particularly in Borneo. The review must offer a significant synthesis and interpretation of the topic discussed. 

b. Short notes or communications (up to 2,500 words)

Short notes cover novel natural history or field observations and include (but not limited to) significant species range extensions, new country records of previously unreported species and opportunistic single event or limited behavioural observations. Short note articles must be of importance and report previously unrecorded species, or unreported or unconfirmed aspects of biology or natural history. Ideally, submissions must offer an interpretation of the observations in a larger context of taxonomy and biodiversity, ecology, natural product chemistry or nature tourism in Southeast Asia, particularly Borneo. All short notes are expected (although not required and subject to editor discretion) to include high quality photo, video or audio recordings that documented the reported observations. 

Communications can express opinions or thought-provoking commentary on current issues or previously published papers in taxonomy and biodiversity, ecology, natural product chemistry or nature tourism in Southeast Asia, particularly Borneo. It may also provide insights on particularly interesting or original developments in the abovementioned fields.

For these categories, there should be no headings (introduction, material and methods, results and discussion in one continuous block of text) and no abstract; acknowledgements should be brief. References should be cited as in full papers.

Peer Review Process

The JTBC adopts a single-blind peer-review while encouraging the reviewer to waive anonymity. The JTBC requires the corresponding author to submit a cover letter to state conflict of interest, and agreement from all co-authors. The 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.

The 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 of 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 the JTBC require the author's responses specifically and accurately to 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 the line number and a marked-up copy of the changes made from the original manuscript with the "Track Changes' file. Lastly, the Editor makes the decision of whether the manuscript will be accepted in the JTBC or will need to be reviewed again.


Open Access Policy

The JTBC 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.


Transparency Statement

The JTBC is published by the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, owned by and funded by Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

The copyright belongs to the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation.


Journal History

The JTBC was established by the ITBC under the sponsorship of the Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation Programme in Sabah (BBEC) in 2005. Since the BBEC programme ended in 2006, the JTBC has been published through financial support from the ITBC and UMS.

Since Volume No. 1 in 2005, the JTBC has been published by the ITBC, with the exception of Volume No. 4 in 2008, which was published by the UMS Press.

An international Editorial Board serves to advise the Editorial Team and is changed from time-to-time.

The Editorial Teams, 2005–present (EIC—Editor-in-Chief, ME—Managing Editor, ACE—Admin and Copy Editor):

2005–2006: Henry Bernard (ME), Menno Schilthuizen (ME), Gomera Jumat (ACE)

2007: Henry Bernard (ME), Gomera Jumat (ACE)

2008–2009: Monica Suleiman (ME), Henry Bernard (ME), Gomera Jumat (ACE)

2010–2013: Monica Suleiman (ME), Henry Bernard (ME)

2014–2017: Charles S. Vairappan (EIC), Liew Thor Seng (ME), Julia George (ACE)

2018–2020: Abdul Hamid Ahmad (EIC), Jaya Seelan Sathiya Seelan (ME), Julia George (ACE)

2021–2023: Jaya Seelan Sathiya Seelan (EIC), Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim (ME), Julia George (ACE)

2024–2025: Evan Quah Seng Huat (EIC), Ng Ting Hui (ME), Julia George (ACE)


Privacy Statement

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