“At the recent Atypon Community meeting in Washington DC, accessibility was a topic on many customers’ minds.
This is a real shift: five years ago, very few publishers or societies were talking about accessibility. In the past, publishers’ accessibility requirements were typically driven by requests from institutions and libraries with accessibility written into their missions and their service requirements. Conversations with Atypon would often come when a publisher or society had received a voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT) and needed to know whether they were compliant. Now, with a growing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), combined with new incoming legislation and policy requirements, publishers and societies are starting to realise they need to get serious about accessibility. New requirements all content providers will need to take note of include:
The EU Directive 2019/882 (the European Accessibility Act). Coming into in effect July 2025, the Directive promotes “full and effective equal participation by improving access to mainstream products and services that, through their initial design or subsequent adaptation, address the particular needs of persons with disabilities.” Our expectation is this type of legislation will be quickly followed in the US.
The OSTP Nelson Memo (‘Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research’). Although primarily about delivering greater availability of US government-funded research through open access, the memorandum indicates that agency plans must outline “online access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications in formats that allow for machine-readability and enabling broad accessibility through assistive devices.” It therefore places a focus not only on the availability of resources, but the ability for all to access and benefit from these….”