Editorial Policies

Purpose and Scope


BIO-Complexity is a peer-reviewed scientific journal with a unique goal. It aims to be the leading forum for testing the scientific merit of the claim that intelligent design (ID) is a credible explanation for life. Because questions having to do with the role and origin of information in living systems are at the heart of the scientific controversy over ID, these topics—viewed from all angles and perspectives—are central to the journal's scope.

To achieve its aim, BIO-Complexity is founded on the principle of critical exchange that makes science work.  Specifically, the journal enlists editors and reviewers with scientific expertise in relevant fields who hold a wide range of views on the merit of ID, but who agree on the importance of science for resolving controversies of this kind. Our editors use expert peer review, guided by their own judgement, to decide whether submitted work merits consideration and critique. BIO-Complexity aims not merely to publish work that meets this standard, but also to provide expert critical commentary on it.


BIO-Complexity publishes studies in all areas of science with clear relevance to its aim, including work focusing on the relative merit of any of the principal alternatives to ID (neo-Darwinism, self-organization, evolutionary developmental biology, etc.).  Among the topics of interest are: the origin or characterization of complex biological sequences, structures, forms, functions and processes; pre-biotic chemistry and the origin of life; molecular or morphologic phylogenies and phylogenetic methods; new molecular or morphologic data including paleontological data; cladistics and systematics; biomimetic or engineering analyses of biological systems; in vitro and laboratory evolution; evolutionary simulation and computational evolution. Theoretical or mathematical treatments of complexity or information with clear relevance to the journal's aims are also welcome.

Although philosophical works will not be included as Research Articles, the subject matter does call for occasional articles of a more reflective nature.  These will typically be invited contributions from authors whose opinions are judged to be of broad interest, which will be published as Critical Reviews.  BIO-Complexity will consider for publication only work that adheres to widely accepted modes of scientific investigation and inference.


Section Policies

Research Articles

Research Articles are peer-reviewed, detailed descriptions of original experimental, analytical, or theoretical work that falls within BIO-Complexity's stated scope. They include sufficient technical detail to enable the main parts of the work to be repeated or validated, some of which may be provided in supplementary electronic files.

Each Research Article will be followed by a brief published Critique when this becomes available. The author(s) of the Research Article will then be invited to contribute a brief Response.

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Critical Reviews

Critical Reviews are peer-reviewed articles emphasizing broad conclusions drawn from current literature on a subject within BIO-Complexity's scope.  Their purpose is not to provide exhaustive coverage, but instead to present an informed opinion as to what the findings in a particular area mean.

Each Critical Review will be followed by a brief published Critique when this becomes available. The author(s) of the Critical Review will then be invited to contribute a brief Response.

BIO-Complexity welcomes single-paragraph proposals for Critical Reviews, which will be evaluated based upon the significance of the topic and the qualifications of the proposing author(s). Proposals should be sent by email. The journal will also solicit Critical Reviews.

Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Critical Focus

Critical Focus papers provide peer-reviewed critical analysis that is narrower than a Critical Review, focusing either on a more narrow subject or on a smaller part of the existing literature. The focus may be one or a few closely related papers published elsewhere that fall within BIO-Complexity's stated scope. This category allows for more extended technical analyses of a single study than would be appropriate for a Critical Review, as well as shorter treatments of more specific subjects than would justify a Critical Review.

Each Critical Focus will be followed by a brief published Critique when this becomes available. The author(s) of the Critical Focus will then be invited to contribute a brief Response.

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed


Critiques are selected (but not peer reviewed) critical commentaries on either a Research Article or a Critical Review that has appeared in BIO-Complexity. One Critique will be sought for each Research Article or Critical Review. Submitted contributions will be considered until a Critique of the paper in question has been accepted for publication. Selection is at the sole discretion of the editor of the original article.

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed


Responses are replies to Critiques, written by one or more of the authors of the original article to which the Critique refers (with the consent of all authors).  Only one Response will be published for any CritiqueResponses are not peer-reviewed.

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Peer Review Process


The most significant form of peer review begins when a completed work is made publically available for examination and response. The goal of pre-publication peer review should therefore be to decide whether the work in question merits the attention of experts, rather than to predict the final result of that attention. BIO-Complexity uses an innovative approach to pre-publication peer-review in order to achieve this goal.


Manuscripts submitted as Research Articles, Critical Reviews, or Critical Focus papers that fall within the stated scope and adhere to the journal's standards of originality, clarity, format, and tone are assigned to a member of the Editorial Board for peer review. Two or more reviewers will be consulted for each reviewed manuscript. Authors are encouraged to suggest suitable reviewers, though the Editor may elect to use other reviewers.

Reviewers are asked to comment in fair terms on the work's limitations, but also on whether they think the expert community would benefit from considering both the merits and the limitations. Taking into consideration the manuscript and the reviewers' comments, the Editor will use this criterion of benefit to decide whether to take the manuscript forward.

At that point manuscripts may be either rejected, accepted 'as is', or accepted contingent upon corrections or improvements that, in the opinion of the Editor, substantially enhance the work. Authors will in all cases receive anonymous reviewer comments.

BIO-Complexity aims to communicate decisions to authors within six weeks of submission.


Publication Frequency

To expedite the publication process, BIO-Complexity makes articles available as soon as they are completed. Volume numbers correspond to the year of publication, with issue numbers identifying each peer-reviewed article (i.e., Research Article, Critical Review, or Critical Focus) published during the year. To promote critical dialog, BIO-Complexity solicits two pieces of expert commentary for each published article—a 1-page Critique and a 1-page Response. These items are published subsequently but share the original article's issue number in order to indicate relatedness.


Open Access Policy

BIO-Complexity provides immediate open access to all published content.



BIO-Complexity uses the CLOCKSS system to store all of its published content at twelve major research universities around the world. This effectively guarantees that papers will remain freely accessible on the internet.

CLOCKSS system has permission to ingest, preserve, and serve this Archival Unit.


Online Comments

Respectful, open dialog is the most productive way to approach matters of controversy. To promote this, BIO-Complexity encourages interested readers to participate in the dialog by posting online comments.

To maximize the value of this for everyone, we treat commenting as a privilege that may be suspended or terminated if misused. We have only a few simple rules, represented by the three Rs— real, respectful, and relevant: 

  • Only people willing to use their real names are allowed to post comments.
  • Comments that fail to respect others will be removed (repeat or flagrant offenders being blocked).
  • Comments need to stay on point.
To be registered for posting comments, send an email from an institutional or corporate account (to establish your identity) with a brief description of your areas of interest to our support address. If you prefer to have a different public email address associated with online comments that you post, enter that preferred address in the registration form.


Institutional Support

Biologic Institute, a 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States, has agreed to support the operation of BIO-ComplexityLike many open-access journals, BIO-Complexity recovers part of its publishing costs by charging an Author Publication Fee (see the PLoS document Publishing Open-Access Journals). We recognize, though, that some authors are unable to pay this fee. Institutional support prevents this from being a barrier to publication.

Because BIO-Complexity is committed to complete separation of finances from the editorial process, its Editorial Board carries the process of peer review from submission to final author notification before any enquiries are made regarding payment.

ISSN: 2151-7444