JATS4R’s vision, mission, and goals

JATS4R was formed with the vision of a world where all scholarly content travels seamlessly from author to audience.

Our mission for that vision is to optimise content reusability and foster XML literacy in scholarly publishing, with two main goals:

  • 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 learn about XML so they can produce better XML content

The JATS4R team

JATS4R (JATS for Reuse) is organised and run by a steering committee comprising an inclusive group of publishers, vendors, and other interested organisations who use the NISO Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) XML standard. The JATS4R  recommendations are carried out by various subgroups in co-ordination with the steering committee.

Steering committee members:

mike Mike Eden
(Cambridge University Press)
kelly Kelly McDougall
(MIT Press)
Melissa Harrison
(JATS4R Chair; eLife)
Mary Seligy
(Canadian Science Publishing)
stephen Stephen Laverick
(Green Fifteen Publishing Consultancy)
Lucie Senn
(Frontiers)
kevin Kevin Lawson (Sheridan)

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.