An article that is completely contained inside another article.


This model assumes that there is always an outside article, and that both the article and the sub-article have their own metadata. The container article will have, at the very least, journal information, issue information, and start and end pages; it may also have a title, author, or other metadata. The contained sub-article will have its own, independent metadata, such as authors or a smaller page range, that it may not share with the article that encloses it. The sub-article metadata may be tagged using the <front-stub> element if all of the journal metadata is identical to that of the outside article; if the <front-stub> element is used, any metadata not specifically tagged is inherited from the outside article.

Related Essay: For a discussion on the use of <sub-article>, see Sub-articles to an Article.

Usage: “Super-articles” that contain other articles rarely contain much content of their own, perhaps just a title and introductory paragraph.

Best Practice: This construction should not be used for an article and its response, or for a series of responses, even if the original article to which the responses are replying is elsewhere.

Multi-language: In current multi-language journal publishing, it is not unusual for the narrative body of an article to be available in two languages (for example, English and Korean or French and English). This situation can be handled by tagging each language as a <sub-article>. The @xml:lang attribute on <sub-article> names the appropriate language. The articles can share metadata or keep that separate, using the <front-stub> element. If figures and tables are shared, these can be placed in the <floats-group> at the end of the article and referenced from each sub-article. If figures and tables are completely separate, each sub-article will need to maintain its own numbering system and placement.


article-type Type of Article
id Identifier
specific-use Specific Use
xml:lang Language

Related Elements

A journal article <article> may be divided into several components:

  1. the <front> (the article metadata or header information, which contains both journal and article metadata);
  2. the <body> (the textual and graphical content of the article);
  3. any <back> (any ancillary information such as a glossary, reference list, or appendix);
  4. a <floats-group> (single container element some publishers and archives use to hold all floating elements such as figures and tables that are referenced in the article body or back matter); and
  5. either a series of <response> elements or a series of <sub-article> elements. (A <response> is a commentary on the article itself, such as a summation by an editor, an answer to a letter-article, or words from the author responding to peer-review comments. Sub-articles are articles such as news pieces, abstracts, or committee reports that are completely contained within a main article.)

Content Model

<!ELEMENT  sub-article  %sub-article-model;                          >

Expanded Content Model

((front | front-stub), body?, back?, floats-group?, (sub-article* | response*))


The following, in order:

This element may be contained in:

<article>, <sub-article>


<journal-id journal-id-type="publisher">BR MED J</journal-id>
<publisher-name>British Medical Journal</publisher-name>
<subject>General Practice</subject>
<series-title>Controversy in primary care</series-title>
<article-title>Should asymptomatic haemochromatosis
be treated?</article-title></title-group>
<pub-date pub-type="pub" iso-8601-date="2000-05-13">
<copyright-statement>Copyright &#x00A9; 2000,
British Medical Journal</copyright-statement>
<body><p>Genetic testing ...</p>
<sub-article article-type="research-article">
<journal-id journal-id-type="publisher">BR MED J</journal-id>
<publisher-name>British Medical Journal</publisher-name>
<article-title>Treatment can be onerous for patient and
<contrib contrib-type="author"><name>
<given-names>Clare J</given-names></name>
<role>general practitioner</role>
<xref ref-type="aff"><sup><italic>a</italic></sup></xref>
<contrib contrib-type="author">
<role>retired headmistress</role>
Group Practice, Honiton, Devon EX14 2NY</aff>
<fn><p>Correspondence to: C Seamark
<fn><p>Competing interests: None declared.</p></fn>
<pub-date iso-8601-date="2000"><year>2000</year></pub-date>
<date date-type="accepted" iso-8601-date="2000-02-07">
<copyright-statement>Copyright &#x00A9; 2000,
British Medical Journal</copyright-statement>
<p>The development of genetic testing for disease has
raised the problem of whether to test asymptomatic
<p>We thank MH&apos;s family for their willingness to be involved in
genetic testing ...</p>
<sub-article article-type="research-article">...</sub-article>
<sub-article article-type="research-article">...</sub-article>