About the Journal

Focus and Scope of the Journal

Íkala, Journal of Language and Culture is a refereed scientific journal published by School of Languages at University of Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia. Its main objective is to provide an academic forum for respectful, informed discussion about current subjects related to language and culture, linguistics, literature, translation, and teaching and learning foreign languages, among others. The journal continuously receives empirical studies, literature reviews, theoretical and methodological articles, case studies and book reviews written in English, Spanish, French, or Portuguese. These articles are gathered in three issues, each with an average of twelve articles, published in January, May and September of every year.

Once a year, the journal publishes a special issue on topics of great interest for the field. Some of those topics have been the professional development of language teachers; translation, terminology and specialized languages; global languages and local identities; academic writing; and literacy studies in Latin America. Other topics to be discussed in future publications from 2021 to 2023 will include systemic functional linguistics applied in language education, the use of technology and information communications (TIC) in the teaching of languages, and audiovisual translation. These special issues are usually published once a year and are available online in open access, as are the regular issues.

The journal expects that manuscripts submitted to regular and special issues uphold the highest standards of academic excellence; advance theoretical knowledge by addressing current and cutting-edge topics in applied linguistics; reflect critically on theory and practice; show originality and relevance; contribute to or stimulate current debate; offer new, original interpretations of the topics of interest; demonstrate rigorousness in data collection and analysis; present interesting results, discussions and conclusions with a great depth of analysis; be well written, with sophistication, precision and conciseness; avoid biased or prejudiced language; meet the specifications of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, APA (7.th Ed.); and, in general, make a significant contribution to the field.

Due to the continuous and sustained upholding of the highest international standards for scientific journals, Íkala is now included in well-known bibliographic databases and recognized search engines in which it is classified in the categories of "Education," “Language and Linguistics” and “Linguistics and Language” (see Journal indexation).

Historical Overview of the Journal

Íkala, Journal of Language and Culture is a refereed scientific journal published three times a year in January, May and September by the School of Languages, University of Antioquia. The journal was founded in 1996 by a group of professors under the direction of Édgar León Vélez. Its first editor was Yanik René Mitchell, a former professor at the school, who along with other professors named the journal Íkala which means “topic”, “path” or “matters of great importance” in the language of Tule (Kuna)” (Mitchell, 1996, p.11, citing the ethnolinguist Rito Llerena). Since then, Íkala has become “an open space in which articles are published in different languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French” with an aim to “explore and at the same time, open paths [and] doorways to the comprehension of multiple and complex phenomenon of language and culture” (Mitchel, 1996, p.11.)

While its initial purpose was to “share literature about different aspects of teaching foreign languages, stimulate research and disseminate the results” (Velez, 1996, p.9), over time, this objective has been expanded and transformed. Now, the journal aims to provide a respectful academic forum of informed debate about current matters related to language, linguistics, literature, translation, and teaching and learning foreign languages, among others. Not withstanding these changes, the journal’s primary mission has remained intact: to be a “high-level forum where new spaces are opened for difficult themes” (Velez, 1996, p.9), those compelling themes in the field whose discussion contribute to its progress and renovation.

With these objectives and mission, the journal has managed to increase the number of volumes and articles published each year over and be recognized internationally over the past twenty-five years. In 1996, the journal produced 2 volumes with 4 articles each, and 3 volumes with an average of 12 articles each in 2019. Likewise, the number of foreign authors increased from 6 in 1996 to 28 in 2019, and the number of international peer reviewers from 3 in 2003 to 51 in 2019.  

In recent years, the journal has also advanced in terms of both modality and medium. In terms of the former, in 2009, the first special/thematic issue about the Professional Development of Language Teachers (Volume 14, number 22) was circulated in order to share academic work from an international conference organized by the School of Languages.  Since then, the journal has published five special/thematic issues about matters of great interest in the area of Translation, Terminology and Specialized Languages, Sociolinguistics: Global Languages and Local Identities, Academic Writing, and Literacies Studies in Latin America. These issues have not only been well received by readers but they have also contributed to the visibility of the journal. Now, the journal is preparing to produce a special/thematic issue every year in order to promote discussions on current linguistic and cultural matters of importance.

In terms of medium, prior to 2016, articles were available only in printed form. After that, Íkala began offering its articles also in online format through the Open Journal System (OJS). Then, in 2019, the journal made the decision to offer articles only in online format to support environmental campaigns promoted by the University of Antioquia.

Additional changes have also been made to Íkala’s editorial team which is responsible for policy decision-making and the direction of the journal. Presently, the journal has 3 associate editors for the following areas:  General Linguistics, Indigenous Languages (Dr. Ana Isabel García), Linguistic Engineering, Lexicography, Translation, Terminology, Computer-Assisted Translation -CAT (Dr. Gabriel Quiroz), Literature, Cultural Studies, and Cinemagraphics (Dr. Wilson Orozco). Additionally, individuals who are experts in their area of research serve as invited editors in the special/thematic issues. Currently, the Editorial Board is comprised of 4 national and 25 international scholars from 11 countries who are experts in diverse areas such as: Hispanic, Spanish, Latin American and Applied Linguistics; Language Sciences; Hispanic Studies; Translation and Interpretation; Philology; Education; Curriculum and Instruction; Ethnology; Translation Studies; Terminology; and Learning Second Languages.

Finally, recognizing its constant search for meeting the highest quality international standards for scientific journals, in 2005 Íkala got classified as Category C in the Colombian National Bibliographic Index, Publindex. This classification would move to Category B from 2010 to 2011, and to Category A2 from 2013 to 2018. However, in 2018, when Publindex was aligned with an international ranking system, the journal returned to the category B that it had during 2010-2011 and it remained in this category until 2020. Now, the magazine is classified in Category A2. Likewise, Íkala’s rankings in the data base Scopus have indicated positive change. The journal first entered Scopus in 2014 and although it fluctuated between quartiles 3 and 4 for a number of years, it was ranked in quartile 2 for the categories of Language and Linguistics in 2019. Íkala’s first inclusion in the network Ibero-American Network for Innovation and Scientific Knowledge (REDIB) was in 2004. Now the journal is present in 13 internationally reknown bibliographic databases and search engines such as Scielo Citation Index (powered by Web of Science in partnership with SciELO), DOAJ, Latindex, Scopus, Redalyc, EBSCO, Dialnet, BIBLAT and CLASE. Noteworthy, the journal’s citations increased from 14 in 2004 to 490 in 2019, reaching the index H of 28 according to Google Scholar indicadors.

These achievements have led Íkala to be considered one of the most influential journals within its field in Colombia and Latin America. According to Google Analytics, more than 11, 819 users worldwide have free access to its empirical research articles, literature reviews, theoretical and methodological articles, case studies, and book reviews from any place with internet connection around the world.

Peer Review Process

All of the manuscripts that are received, which comply with the requirements of the journal are sent, withholding the author's information, to at least two external peer, specialised in the specific area, who, anonymously and following an identical format, review a manuscript and suggest possible ways of improving it. A reviewer should conduct his/her review within three weeks. Failing to get a response within the first week, an invitation to review will be sent to other peers. 

When two coincident recommendations are received, the Editor will make a decision on the manuscript and will convey it to the submitting author.  The authors then will be given a period of 2-3 weeks to perform any adjustments needed and send their manuscript back for a second review, so that peer reviewers, always anonymously, can submit their final recommendation (publishable or unpublishable).

Open Access Policy

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


In line with the Budapest Initiative for Open Access, Íkala upholds the belief that scientific and academic knowledge should be made available to the public. In line with this principle, Íkala supports the NO APC’s (No Article Processing Charges) policy which gives free access to its scholarly research publications and supports the acceptance of articles based only on their academic merit. Besides, in accordance with good editorial practices promoted by organizations such as DOAJ,  Íkala does not charge for article evaluation, copyediting, layout,  publication or any of the other steps necessary for the articles to be published and to reach their audience. 

Digital Archiving Policy

PKP Preservation Network (PN).

Advanced Publication

Íkala is in the process of implementing an early publication option. This means that the manuscripts could be available before publication with their DOI, but without final pagination. Authors whose manuscripts qualify for this option will be contacted by the editorial assistant.


Íkala is published three times a year: in January, May, and September

Acceptance Rate

Based on the average number of manuscripts received and articles published in 2020, our acceptance rate is 18.5%.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses registered in Íkala will be used for the sole purpose of the journal and will not be used for any other purpose to any other party.

Copyright Notice

Íkala provides access to its content under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) 4.0 International License. This implies the following:

  1. Attribution— You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  2. NonCommercial— You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
  3. Share alike—  If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.