Free to Read (NISO Access License and Indicators)

A flag indicating that the document content can be read or viewed at its current location by any user without payment or authentication.


This element is defined in NISO RP-22-2015 Access License and Indicators Recommended Practice. It is a simple indication of the status of the document that does not make any statements about additional reuse rights or restrictions. Absence of this element in a document does not indicate its negation; it merely indicates that a user would need to look to other information to ascertain the status of the document.
Date Attributes: Start and end dates can be placed on the free-to-read status using the attributes @start_date and @end_date. Start and end dates can be used to record delayed access, special offers, etc. where the content is free to read for a period of time or after a particular date. The absence of both start and end dates indicates a permanent free-to-read status.

Related Elements

Use of this element is independent of both the NISO ALI <ali:license_ref> and the <license> elements.
JATS has several elements that deal with the usage, permissions, and licensing. Some of these elements are taken from the NISO Access License and Indicators (ALI) 2015 Recommended Practice specification. The <license> element is JATS-specific and predates the NISO recommendation:
  • <ali:free_to_read> — This NISO ALI element is a simple flag whose presence indicates that the document is free-to-read, without making statements about any additional reuse rights or restrictions. Date attributes can specify when the document is free to be read.
  • <ali:license_ref> — This NISO ALI element points to a public license or waiver. By “public”, NISO means that the offer is generally and not privately offered. Such a license may be either human or machine-readable text that explains the terms of use or reuse for the content.
  • <license> — A JATS-specific element whose content describes a set of conditions under which the content may be used, accessed, and distributed. This element was provided to hold the license text within the <license-p> within it. The 2015 NISO ALI recommendation rather than the full license text. For users who adopt the NISO ALI recommendation, the <license> element could be used to hold a short representation of the license, a sentence or two to be used for display. Alternatively, a publisher could choose not to implement NISO ALI and to put the text of the license in <license>.
    The <license> element takes the @xlink:href attribute to point to the text of the license. However, the new NISO ALI element <ali:license_ref> performs the same pointing function. JATS best practice is to omit the @xlink:href attribute from <license> if a NISO ALI <ali:license_ref> is used.


Content Model

<!ELEMENT  ali:free_to_read 
                        %free-to-read-model;                         >

Expanded Content Model



This is an EMPTY element

This element may be contained in:


Free-to-read flag with both start and end dates. After the end date, the document will have different, non-free licensing arrangements.
<ali:free_to_read xmlns:ali="http://www.niso.org/schemas/ali/1.0/" 
start_date="2014-01-01" end_date="2014-12-31"/>