ref-type Type of Cross-Reference

Type of element that is the target of the cross-reference (for example: a Figure (“fig”), an Author Note (“author-notes”), or a Bibliographic Reference (“bibr”)). The values may be used, for example, for type-specific processing or validation.


The <xref> element may be used to reference anything that has an @id attribute. This single element takes the place of the many named types of references (such as figure references, table references, and footnote references) that are common in many journal tag sets. This attribute can preserve the information from such tag sets concerning the type of element to which the cross-reference is pointing.

Reference Type Not on the List

When a JATS tagger needs to record a value that is not a named value on the list, they should use the value “custom”. This tells a JATS processor that this @ref-type is not one of the known types. The attribute @custom-type should then be used to record the type of object being referenced.
<xref @ref-type="custom" custom-type="data-avail-statement"/>
For any <xref> with a @ref-type attribute that takes the value “custom”, then the @custom-type attribute should be used and should have a value. Schematron or similar can be used to enforce this and, if desired, to constrain the @custom-type values.
OPTIONAL on element: <xref>
Value Meaning
aff Affiliation
app Appendix
author-notes Author notes
award Points to the description of or identifier for a grant or award (<award-id>), also, possibly to an entire awards group (<award-group>)
bibr Bibliographic reference (typically to a <ref> element, but it may point to a <element-citation> or <mixed-citation> if there are multiple citations inside the <ref> element)
bio Biography (typically of a contributor)
boxed-text Textbox or sidebar
chem Chemical structure (to a <chem-struct> or <chem-struct-wrap> element)
collab Collaboration
contrib Contributor
corresp Corresponding author
custom Not one of the meanings named in this list. The type can be found as the value of the attribute @custom-type
disp-formula Display formula
fig Figure or group of figures (to a <fig> or <fig-group> element)
fn Footnote
kwd Keyword
list List or list item (to a <list> or <list-item> element; also, possibly to a <def-list> or <def-item> element)
other None of the items listed. To name the type, use the value “custom” and then the attribute @custom-type rather than this value “other”.
plate Plate
scheme Scheme
sec Section
statement Statement
supplementary-material Supplementary information
table Table or group of tables (to a <table-wrap> or <table-wrap-group> element)
table-fn Table footnote
Restriction @ref-type is an optional attribute; there is no default.
Tagged Samples
Links to bibliographic references
<p>... The third nucleotide (CG<bold>A</bold>) at codon 529, which 
 is a specific nucleotide of <italic>M. tuberculosis</italic>
 (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B8">8</xref>, <xref ref-type="bibr"
 rid="B11">11</xref>), was not clearly determined ...</p>
Links to tables
<table-wrap id="c5-tab2">...</table-wrap>
<table-wrap id="c5-tab3">...</table-wrap>
<p>... (see <xref ref-type="table" rid="c5-tab2">Tables&#x00A0;2</xref> 
and <xref ref-type="table" rid="c5-tab3">3</xref>)</p>
Link to section
<p>... see <xref ref-type="sec" rid="c5-s3">Section&#x00A0;3</xref></p>
<sec id="c5-s3">
Link to footnote
<xref ref-type="fn" rid="int-fn1">1</xref>
<p>...<fn id="int-fn1"><p>...</p></fn>...</p>
Link to table footnote
  <tr><td><xref ref-type="table-fn" rid="tab1-fn1">a</xref>
  <fn id="tab1-fn1"><p>...</p></fn>