NISO Publishes Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) Standard

Provides common XML format for exchanging journal content

Baltimore, MD - August 22, 2012 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of a new American National Standard, JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite, ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2012. JATS provides a common XML format in which publishers and archives can exchange journal content by preserving the intellectual content of journals independent of the form in which that content was originally delivered. In addition to the element and attribute descriptions, three journal article tag sets (the Archiving and Interchange Tag Set, the Journal Publishing Tag Set, and the Article Authoring Tag Set) are part of the standard. While designed to describe the textual and graphical content of journal articles, it can also be used for some other materials, such as letters, editorials, and book and product reviews.
"Although this is the first version of JATS as an American National Standard," stated Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Director for Programs, "the specification has a long history as the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Journal Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite, commonly referred to as the NLM DTDs. Those DTDs were based on an article model that was used in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)/NLM PubMed Central project to archive life science journals. The original PubMed Central article model was expanded in scope with support from Harvard University Libraries and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in collaboration with Inera, Inc. and Mulberry Technologies, Inc., resulting in 2003 in the full NLM Journal Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite. The Tag Suite had reached version 3.0 prior to initiation of the NISO standardization process."

"Since its initial release, the Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite has been widely popular," said B. Tommie Usdin, President of Mulberry Technologies, Inc. and Co-chair of the NISO JATS Working Group. "The format is being used to tag thousands of journals worldwide and is used for the journal archives at PubMed Central and Portico and by the online publisher HighWire Press. The Library of Congress and the British Library have announced their intention to use these models for archiving electronic content."

"Taking JATS through the NISO standardization process will bring awareness of the Tag Suite to a larger and more varied audience," explained Jeffrey Beck, NCBI Technical Information Specialist at the National Library of Medicine and Co-chair of the NISO JATS Working Group. "We expect this wider audience will find uses for the Tag Suite in new applications, beyond its traditional uses in journal publishing and archiving."

"We are pleased that the NLM project team brought this valuable standard to NISO for wider dissemination," stated Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director. "We will be supporting a standing committee to continuously update the standard and NLM will continue to host the user documentation and schemas that support the standard."

The JATS standard is available as both an online XML document and a freely downloadable PDF from the NISO website ( Supporting documentation and schemas in DTD, RELAX NG, and W3C Schema formats are available at:

About NISO
NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of information standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO website: