The Academia Brasileira de Ciências (ABC) was established in 1916 as an independent, non-governmental, scientific society. The main role of the Academy has been, by the rigorous selection of its members, to set standards of achievement and excellence in the domain of science in Brazil. A Board of seven members, elected every three years, administers the Academy. Members are organized into ten sections: Mathematical, Physical, Chemical, Earth, Biological, Biomedical, Health, Agricultural, Engineering, and Human Sciences. Apart from its action towards the development of science in the country, the Academy plays a leading role in fostering Brazilian technological and educational progress. The Academy advises the government in the area of science technology and educational policies, coordinates research programmes, publishes books and is responsible for agreements on scientific cooperation with similar institutions abroad.
The Academy publishes one refereed periodical: the Annals (Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências). The Annals cover those fields of science that compose the ten Academy Sections and have been published since 1929, without interruption. It contains original full papers and abstracts of the communications presented at the regular sessions of the Academy. The editors encourage publication in English. Besides the periodical, the Academy publishes proceedings of symposia and reports in several fields: (a) Tropical Soils, (b) Science in Brazil, (c) Transition to Global Sustainability: the contribution of Brazilian Science, (d) Medicamentos (1999), (e) Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change: Brazilian Perspectives – and a journal dedicated to Brazilian Antarctic research, entitled Pesquisa Antartica Brasileira.
In 1993, the Academy assumed the membership in ICSU, which was formerly held by the CNPq (National Research Council).