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Multiple Language Translations of Online Journals and Indexing English Editions of Journals

The MEDLINE/PubMed database includes a language field for identifying the languages in which an article is published. As electronic publishing evolves, one trend for online journals is to include multiple language versions of an article within a single journal issue. To accommodate this change, the MEDLINE/PubMed citation includes the languages of the versions according to the following policy.

Policy for Multiple Language Translations of Online Journals

For articles that are published in multiple languages, the MEDLINE/PubMed citation displays the various languages when the full translations are available at the original time of publication. An unlimited number of languages may display.

Publishers or their suppliers are responsible for including all appropriate languages as part of the XML citation data submitted to NLM.

For guidance on this process, see "Instructions for articles published in Non-English Languages" in XML Help for PubMed Data Providers.

Policy Scope and Implementation Date

This policy applies to online journals and is effective beginning with 2012 publications.

Indexing English Editions of Journals

Previously, journals cited in MEDLINE were indexed from the original language of publication when Index Section staffing included expertise in that language. As of June 2018, only the English version of multi-language articles is indexed for MEDLINE. The citation still identifies the multiple languages when publishers supply that information. In many cases, users will still have access to the non-English versions of these articles when they access the full text on the publisher's website. Separate citations will not exist for the different languages.

Last Reviewed: November 23, 2021