JATS4R’s goals

JATS4R’s goals are the following:

  • To advance scholarly content reuse through the development of recommendations for tagging content in JATS XML
  • To provide resources to help people in all areas of interested organisations to produce better XML content

The JATS4R team

JATS4R (JATS for Reuse) is an inclusive group of publishers, vendors, and other interested organisations who use the NISO Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) XML standard. Our Chair is Melissa Harrison of eLife.

Tagging recommendations, as well as activities related to the running of JATS4R (such as communications, web management, and Validator tool development) are carried out by a number of dedicated volunteers from various organizations, including Atypon, BMJ, Cambridge University PressCanadian Science Publishing, Frontiers, NCBI, and River Valley Technologies. Here is a list of JATS4R participants.

The JATS4R backstory: why we started JATS4R

Virtually all publishers use a mark-up language called XML to prepare their content for composition and web hosting, but XML is also required for content to be ingested by systems, including search engines, digital catalogs, archives, and aggregators. As such, XML in a real sense serves as the foundation for content discovery, uptake, and reuse, things that concern all publishers.

Today, most scholarly publishers use the same XML standard, the Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) NISO Z39.96-2012  standard, maintained by the US National Library of Medicine. When JATS was first developed back in the early 2000s, it was deliberately written to be a loose standard so that as many publishers as possible could migrate fairly easily from their proprietary DTDs (or no XML at all) to JATS.

While JATS continues to favour XML creation (whether by the publisher or a vendor), it is still too loose to really support content reuse,  because the same document object may be tagged several different ways among different publishers (and sometimes within a single publisher’s content) and still be valid JATS XML. But for machine systems to accurately identify and reuse bits of content across all publishers, the content must be tagged in a consistent, predictable way.

In the spring of 2014 at the annual JATS user meeting (JATSCon) in Bethesda Md, a call to action went out to the users for someone (or some group) to try to address the urgent need for a set of XML tagging best practices that would favour content reuse. It was from this call to action that a group of like-minded publishers and vendors got together to form the JATS4R (“JATS For Reuse”) working group.

Additionally, as XML becomes increasingly important as the foundation of content discovery and dissemination, JATS4R has identified a need to help everyone, regardless of technical background, improve their XML fluency.