Journal Publishing Is Sexy Again!
Academic Publishing JATS XML

Journal Publishing Is Sexy Again!

Monali Ghosh
Monali Ghosh

Bringing you 4 ways to streamline the publishing workflow and keep up with the JATS XML


A sneak peek into the publishing industry

Like every other business and industry, 2020 has been a ground-shaking year for the publishers with the need for accelerating the digital transformation, now more than ever.

So how big is the publishing industry, and its landscape?

With the estimation of about 814,000 people employed and engaged in this field globally, including approximately 69,709 independent publishers, publishing continues to be a viable industry.

And it is not just the number of publishers where we have witnessed an upturn but also the landscape of the authors.

According to the article — the rising trend in authorship,

The authorship has increased five-fold since 1913 and predict that by 2034, publications will boast an average of 8 authors per paper.— The Winnower

Ever since the publishing industry has evolved (over the last 20 years), being able to access published scholarly articles, journals, and research papers online has been the next best thing since sliced bread. It is a no-brainer that the publishing industry will be an ever-evolving landscape as the sands of standards continue to shift.

While most publishers have gone digital (I call them modern publishers for want of a fancy word), there are a handful of publishers and researchers who are still toiling up the complex, manual path.

So, for those who have been dozing under the rock, Journal Article Tag Suite or JATS is the new normal of the digital publishing industry, and you need to fuse it in your conventional workflows if you haven’t already. It is an XML standard or a format that provides a set of elements and attributes in XML used for tagging and defining the textual, graphical content of journals, scholarly articles, etc.

The <article> element in JATS includes <front>, <body>, and <back>

In addition to journal articles, JATS also describes the textual and graphical content of non-research material like books, letters, product reviews, or editorials.

But, before we jump to the use of JATS XML for streamlining the journal publishing workflow, let’s understand how a publication process works.

How does a typical journal publishing workflow look like?

A Typical Publishing Workflow of Journal/Research Paper

Now that we have walked through a traditional publishing workflow of journals, it is about time, we address the elephant in the room.

The end goal of a journal publisher has not changed, i.e., seamlessly executing the journal production journey — from article authoring to successfully distributing the journal to the target audience.

So, what has changed?

It is the customers’ waning attention span and their ever-changing priorities for multi-media output accessibility. They prefer scholarly articles, journals, and research papers published across digital channels that can be quickly searched, accessed in different readable formats, and at lower costs or even better; through open access (OA) publishing models.

Challenges arise when journal editors lack expertise in transitioning manuscripts into a digitally compatible output — an XML-based file ready for publishing.

Smarter ways to streamline your journal publishing workflow

Since JATS will be the holy grail of the digital publishing industry, let’s delve deeper into the future of digital publishing and ways to streamline the JATS XML-based publishing workflow:

1. Standardization and interoperability of metadata

One of the fundamental aspects of the digital/online publishing realm is metadata. And, interoperable metadata is the next big thing and key focus area for modern academic publishers.

Picture Credits: Towards Data Science

With the booming need for machine-readable content formats (e.g., JATS XML) that can be quickly processed by interrelated digital systems, the interoperability of metadata has been soaring high since 2020. That said, ingesting domain-specific metadata standards and richer metadata schemas into your journal articles will make the content more accessible, relevant, and reusable for the readers.

2. Empower your journal production workflow with the JATS XML model

Encoding your journals in JATS allows you to model the articles with descriptions of the entire content or just the header metadata of the article.

For rapid multi-channel delivery of online published research journals, most publishers essentially require manuscripts converted to XML files as the definitive archive. And, the preferred document type definition (DTD) of choice is JATS nowadays.


So what is the best approach or model for streamlining the production workflow?

Implementing JATS XML-first or JATS XML-early has proved to be an efficient model that streamlines reusable content delivery across multiple digital channels.

Post the journal authoring in MS Word, a standard JATS XML-first workflow incorporates tags, marks the structure and semantics of articles right from the beginning of the manuscript production cycle. This way, the copyediting, proofreading, typesetting, and schema corrections are done in the JATS XML format throughout the publication workflow.

To explore more benefits of using the JATS XML model for journal publishing, read the article — JATS XML: Everything a Publisher Needs to Know.

3. The power of AI and machine learning models in the publishing realm


Machine learning and AI are no more buzz words and good-to-have technologies, even for the publishing industry. The paradigm shift towards the fourth industrial revolution (industry 4.0) has forced the small-and-medium-sized publishers to rethink their publishing strategies.

To enhance productivity and increase efficiency, publishers, journal editors should foster and apply the promising innovations of AI and machine learning in their academic publishing process.

Machine learning models and AI-driven applications hold the potential to re-invent how aggregators and publishers structure, organize and deliver the content to digital readers.

Leveraging such applications and solutions can help:

  • automate the text analysis and indexing of JATS XML data in search engines,
  • enhance the discoverability of scholarly articles and recommend them to relevant audiences, and
  • improve typesetting results and processes

4. Bring an intelligent JATS XML conversion platform into play

This ubiquitous requirement of incorporating XML during the journal production process can be a tricky business and strike you with challenges like:

  • Generation of a granular XML file from an MS Word, LaTeX, or PDF file submitted by the author, using complex, conventional workflows
Picture Credits: Teqtindia
  • Rendering of the XML file to produce PDF, HTML, Epub, etc. for multiple iterations and proofreading of the manuscript

To get rid of complex and traditional workflows and save yourself significant manual hours, you need a better, smarter alternative to MS-Word & LaTeX. Implementing an intelligent solution or a platform that not only helps you generate high-quality content in JATS XML standard but also transforms your research publishing and collaboration workflow end-to-end is an ideal move to make. And the best part? It will not cost you an arm and a leg!

In Conclusion

The publishing world has shifted its de facto technical standard from NLM 2.3 to JATS for optimized workflows and processes.

The success mantra, or secret sauce as I like to call it, is High Quality + Speed for all businesses. To streamline your traditional journal publishing workflows, you don’t have to be a JATS XML ninja; you just have to be smart! Smart enough to realize that you can leverage AI/ML-powered platforms like Typeset to speed up the entire publication process.

With Typeset integrated into your existing workflow, all you need is a few minutes to spare to set up the platform, and voila! Get started with the click-click process of converting your files to JATS XML, validating the XML schema, and download the JATS XML files ready for publishing.

Before You Go,


Did you find the above article interesting? Here are a few more blogs that might also interest you:

  1. Top 4 MS-Word (Docx) to JATS XML Converters
  2. PDF to JATS XML Conversion — Why it’s important for an Academic Publisher
  3. Top 5 Reference XML Generation For Academic Publishers
  4. How to Get Your Articles Indexed in PubMed: The Go-To Guide for Publishers