Fol. Biol. 2024, 70, 1-44

70th Anniversary of Folia Biologica

Tomáš Zima, Jan Živný, Zdeněk Kleibl

Folia Biologica celebrates 70 years of continuous publication of research papers. The first volume was published in Prague in 1954 on behalf of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (since 1990 the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) under the subtitle “International edition of the journal Czechoslovakian Biology”. Born in the dark days of the Cold War, Folia Biologica provided a thin but important link between the politically controlled science behind the Iron Curtain in the former Czechoslovakia and that of the free Western world. Initially, the journal focused on research papers in the fields of experimental medicine, immunology, virology, and experimental zoology. Since 1961 (Volume 7), Folia Biologica has been indexed in the Web of Science database. The first issue of Volume 7 was introduced by a review article by Peter Brian Medawar (1915–1987), winner of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance”, which is reprinted in this anniversary issue [1].
In the late 1960s, during the political relaxation that culminated in the Prague Spring, cooperation with free Western science intensified and enabled a lively scientific dialogue between Czechoslovak and foreign biological scientists, namely immunologists, molecular biologists, and virologists, as illustrated by a series of original research articles from Folia Biologica by Georg Davis Snell (1903–1996) and Jean Dausset (1916–2009), who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1980 “for their discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions”, which led to the discovery of the major histocompatibility system (MHC) [2–7]. Another powerful example is an article in Folia Biologica by François Jacob (1920–2013), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965 for discoveries that helped elucidate the transcriptional control of enzyme levels [8].
Despite the years of political repression during the “normalization” period following the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia in 1968, the scientists and editors of Folia Biologica from the Academy of Sciences were able to maintain vibrant contacts with the world’s leading scientists. In 1981, the journal changed its subtitle to “Journal of Cellular and Molecular Biology”. In 1983, Folia Biologica published the article by Renato Dulbecco (1914–2012), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1975 for “discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell”[9].
With further orientation towards human molecular medicine, the journal entered the era after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which represented the desired end of political control over national science. The interest of Czechoslovak and Czech scientists in publishing in Folia Biologica began to decline at the end of the 1990s, when they had at their disposal the full range of scientific journals from all over the world. Since volume 63 (January 2006), Folia Biologica has been published by the First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, in a fully open access model.
With the new decade that begins with this issue, the journal has undergone a series of improvements, including the strengthening of the editorial board, the assignment of a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) number to each article, the improvement of the cover layout and graphics, the innovation of the website, and a more precise definition of the journal’s aim. Folia Biologica now publishes articles describing original research aimed at elucidating a wide range of issues in biomedicine, especially in oncology and human molecular genetics. In addition, the journal focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of disease and provides studies on all organisms, cells and tissues that serve as biological and disease models, as well as clinical and translational research studies. Further improvements towards sustainable and rapid publication will be accomplished by introducing an online-only publication model planned for 2025.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Folia Biologica, we begin the anniversary volume with the reprint of Sir Peter Brian Medawar’s review. To commemorate the continuing history of the journal, and to thank our predecessors and contributors, we present the title pages, table of contents, and editorial boards of Folia Biologica by decade, illustrating the changes in research focus, human knowledge, and the evolution of the journal.
We would like to thank all authors, reviewers, editorial board members, editors and managing editors involved in the journal production in the past decades, namely Ivan Málek, Milan Hašek, Alena Langerová, Josef Říman, Jan Bubeník, Jan Svoboda, Emanual Nečas, Karel Smetana Jr. and Zdeněk Kostrouch, for their commitment and dedication to Folia Biologica.
We wish our journal many more decades of scientifically interesting articles, publishing open-minded science by excellent authors for the pleasure of satisfied readers!


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