Small and medium publishers do not have the monetary or human resources needed to convert manuscripts into all the different formats that it is consumed in. The most important of those formats in this digital-first era is JATS XML.
Now, almost all publishers have heard of JATS XML, but not many truly get its importance. There are also concerns over how much converting to JATS will cost them and whether the returns are worth the investment. Let’s just say that if you want people to read your journal, you need JATS. Read my previous blog post on JATS XML, what it is and why it is critical for online journal publishers.
In this blog post, I’ll list the top four Docx to JATS XML converters available today. To be honest, while the title says ‘top’ four, these four are, by and far, the only converters of their kind. These, ideally, should work the same way the other document converters, such as docx to pdf, pdf to jpg etc. work — i.e. your involvement in this process should involve only uploading the manuscript and downloading the converted JATS XML and the conversion process should be automated. However, the four products below have varying degrees of autonomy and you should choose the one that works best for you.
This is a quick tldr; snapshot of the four products. Details follow below the comparison chart.
SciSpace is a platform built specifically for scholarly publishing. The Docx to JATS XML conversion is completely automated. You upload a Docx and download a perfectly formatted, automatically tagged and structured JATS XML within seconds.
SciSpace also has a scientific writing and editing platform that can give MS Word a run for its money any day. Authors, editors, and reviewers can write and collaborate here before freezing the final manuscript for conversion to JATS.
A few features that make SciSpace the industry-standard Docx to JATS XML converter for publishers include:
Semantically tagged XML — The JATS generated by SciSpace is semantically tagged with rich metadata for increased visibility in search engines — which means your journal’s articles will show up on the first pages of search engines for relevant searches. Publishers who are looking to increase their online reach and readership will find this very useful.
Specialized XML for submissions to top indices — Crossref, and indices like PubMed, SciElo etc. have their own JATS XML styling requirements. SciSpace helps generate JATS XML compliant to these specific requirements as well.
Works with OJS — Many OA publishers use OJS. SciSpace works out-of-the-box with OJS — which means you can work on and convert your manuscripts on SciSpace without breaking your production flow on OJS.
SciSpace automatically converts Docx to several other publishing formats, including ePub, PDF, HTML, LaTeX and more. Read more about its feature set and book a demo for your journal.
eXtyles from Inera is a suite of downloadable software products, one of which does docx to JATS XML conversion. The docx to JATS XML conversion is one-click and completely automated.
While subscribing to eXtyles will give you access to all of its features (analogous to the features in SciSpace), Inera has also unbundled these features and made them available as products by themselves. So, eXtyles Arc does conversion to JATS XML, eXtyles NLM converts to PMC XML, eXtyles Metadata Extraction harvests metadata from manuscripts etc.
Cost-wise eXtyles for conversion or any of its other features can be quite expensive for small and medium publishers. It is an enterprise-level software and is used by big publishers with sizeable budgets. This is the pricing for one of their unbundled product called Edifix which helps with styling, tagging and linking bibliographic references:
Also, eXtyles needs to be downloaded on a Windows system and only works with MS Word, so publishers who don’t use either of these may not be able to use this software.
Typefi can convert from multiple formats to JATS XML and process-wise is comparable to SciSpace and eXtyles in its automation. It also has an integration with Adobe InDesign for ensuring layout consistency. eXtyles has collaborated with Typefi to provide publishers access to inDesign integration. SciSpace, on the other hand, has automated layout and formatting.
The downside to Typefi is that it does not generate any specialized JATS XML as may be needed by certain indices and directories.
Typefi offers both cloud-based and single-user desktop options.
Ictect exclusively works with MS Word documents. The conversion to JATS XML is automated similar to the other three solutions.
Similar to Typefi, Ictect offers both cloud-based and on-premise options. During setup you can specify any customizations you may need from the JATS XML that Ictect generates for you. However, by default, it does not offer specialized JATS for submission to indices.
In addition to these four tools, I also want to share two free Docx to JATS XML converters. These may have some issues. They also do not have any of the bells and whistles of the four tools listed above and little to no support to speak of. But, hey, it’s free, no one’s judging.
Both of these tools are on Github and can be downloaded to your system. Setting up and running them requires some amount of technical know-how, get help from a friend or colleague if needed.
meSciSpace: These are the features it has as listed on its Github page:
- Automated Microsoft Word (docx) to JATS XML
- Intelligent size processing and section grouping algorithm
- Reference list detection
- Free-text list detection
- Footnote handling
- Full table support
- Metadata handling from platform-generated input
- Built-in bibliographic database
- Zotero integration for looking up citations
docxConverter: This is an OJS 3.1+ plugin for docx to JATS XML conversion. Works best with structured documents. Read more about docx Converter.
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