The nickel(II), iron(III), oxovanadium(IV) complexes of the 3-hydroxysalicylidene-S-methyl-thiosemicarbazone (L) were obtained from the 3-hydroxysalicyldehyde-S-methylthiosemicarbazone with the R-1-substituted-salicylaldehyde (R-1: H, 3-OH) in the presence of Ni(II), Fe(III), VO(IV) as template ion. The ligand and its complexes were characterized by elemental analysis, electronic, UV/Vis., H-1 NMR, EPR and IR studies. The free ligand and its metal complexes have been tested for in vitro antioxidant capacity by reduction of copper(II) neocuproine (Cu(II)-Nc) using the CUPRAC method. The ligand exhibited more potent in vitro antioxidant capacity than its complexes. The obtained trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) value of the iron(III) complex (TEAC(CUPRAC) = 3.27) was higher than those of other complexes. Furthermore, the antioxidant activity of the free ligand and its complexes were determined by in vitro methods measuring the scavenging activity of reactive oxygen species (ROS) including hydroxyl radical ((OH)-O-center dot), superoxide anion radical (O-2(center dot-)), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), showing that especially the V(IV) and Fe(III) complexes had significant scavenging activity for ROS. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.