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.

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

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


Tools/Techniques papers are brief peer-reviewed contributions describing new research tools or techniques that may be useful for research that falls within the journal's scope. Tools may be online services or stand-alone applications that are freely available to BIO-Complexity users. Techniques may be either experimental or computational.

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.

Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Conference Papers

Conference Papers communicate in refined and extended form ideas and results that have been presented at a conference deemed to be of interest to BIO-Complexity readers. In consultation with conference organizers, the Editor in Chief decides whether the journal will consider submissions in this category.

All submissions undergo peer review, which may (at the discretion of the Editor in Chief) be handled by qualified conference organizers. 

Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

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 to peer-reviewed sections (Research Articles, Critical ReviewsCritical Focus papers, Tools/Techniques papers, Conference 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. Editors perform their duties by the delegated authority of the Editor-in-Chief, with whom the final decision on all editorial matters rests.

BIO-Complexity aims to communicate decisions to authors within six weeks of submission. Authors will in all cases receive anonymous reviewer comments. 


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, Critical Focus, or Tools/Techniques paper) published during the year. To promote critical dialog, BIO-Complexity solicits two pieces of expert commentary for each published Research Article, Critical Review, or Critical Focus—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.


Statement on Conflict of Interest

Public trust in the scientific process and the credibility of published articles depend in part on how transparently conflicts of interest are handled during the planning, implementation, writing, peer review, editing, and publication of scientific work.

A conflict of interest exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients’ welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest.

Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs. Authors should avoid entering in to agreements with study sponsors, both for-profit and non-profit, that interfere with authors’ access to all of the study’s data or that interfere with their ability to analyze and interpret the data and to prepare and publish manuscripts independently when and where they choose. Authors may be required to provide the journal with the agreements in confidence.

Purposeful failure to disclose conflicts of interest is a form of misconduct.

(Source: Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, ICMJE, updated December 2018).

In cases where there is potential for a conflict of interest (as described above), authors are expected to submit a completed ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest.


Statement on Informed Consent

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should identify Individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.

Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note.

The requirement for informed consent should be included in the journal's instructions for authors. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article.

(Source: ICMJE, Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, February 2006).


Statement on Human and Animal Rights

When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

(Source: ICMJE, Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, February 2006).


Institutional Support

In order to prevent publication costs from being a burden to authors, Biologic Institute, a 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States, supports the operation of BIO-Complexity.

ISSN: 2151-7444