What Does EPUB 3.3 Mean For Accessibility? – Inclusive Publishing

“The publishing community eagerly awaits the new version of the EPUB standard, EPUB 3.3, the related EPUB 1.1 accessibility specification and the updated version of EPUBCheck. We asked EPUB 3.3 editor and DAISY developer Matt Garrish; “What does this mean for accessible publishing?’

Can We Expect Major Changes For Accessibility?

Neither the EPUB 3.3 nor the Accessibility 1.1 revisions represent major changes. Most of our efforts are focused on taking the work we’ve already done and moving the documents through the W3C process to make formal recommended specifications of them (i.e., to be fully recognized by W3C membership). EPUB 3.2 was published by the W3C publishing community group, so those documents did not have any formal standing (they didn’t have to go through W3C membership votes, they didn’t have to show independent implementations, etc.). So, EPUB 3.3 will formalize the standard….”

Recommendations on the Transformation of Academic Publishing: Towards Open Access

“Three central arguments support this transformation: 1 ? Openly accessible publications can be read, reviewed and used more quickly and more widely by other researchers. This increases the quality of research and accelerates scientific progress. 2 ? OA makes scientific knowledge more widely available outside of the scientific community and lowers the threshold for various transfer activities. This increases the social effectiveness of (publicly funded) research. 3 ? Up to now, the business model of publishers has been based on rights of use. As they will no longer be granted exclusive rights under OA, publishers will become publication service providers and will compete with other providers. This may strengthen the negotiating position of scientific institutions vis-à-vis such service providers and improve the innovative capacity, cost transparency and cost efficiency of the publication system.

As far as the Council is concerned, the goal of the transformation is for academic publications to be made freely available immediately, permanently, at the original publication venue and in the citable, peer-reviewed and typeset version of record under an open licence (CC BY). This so-called gold route to OA (gold OA) is compatible with various business models…. 

For orientation in this market, the Council recommends that the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany agree on common requirements for quality assurance of content (especially in terms of peer review processes) as well as for high-quality publication services. In the medium term, academic publications should not only be openly accessible, but also machine-readable through open, structured formats and semantic annotations….

“Gold OA” should not be equated with funding via article processing charges (APC)….

As the WR sees it, all third-party funders are obliged to fully finance the publication costs arising from publishing the results of the research they are funding….”


New Leaves: Riffling the History of Digital Pagination

Abstract:  This article presents a new history of digital pagination. Virtual pagination works very differently from its print correlate. Despite this, encapsulated and paginated formats have gained a solid digital foothold. Nonetheless, many commentators have argued that we must overcome such a reliance on and continuity with print in the digital space. This article charts a fresh history of the development of digital pagination through a revisionist interrogation of three interrelated phenomena: 1. That digital pages do not behave as do their physical correlates but instead mimic earlier historical forms of print that fused pagination, scrolling, and the tablet form. 2. That the development of PDF was almost abandoned by Adobe’s board of directors, who could see no audience for it. 3. That there are other more robust lineages of constraint for digital pages from cinema and television. Drawing on new correspondence with the creators of the PDF format I argue from these historical tracings that nothing was sure about the development of textual pagination in the digital space. Further, the digital page almost never came to the prominence and dominance now presumed in discussions of digital reading.

ar5iv – Articles from arXiv.org as responsive HTML5 web documents

Converted from TeX with LaTeXML.
Sources upto the end of 2021. Not a live preview service.
For articles with multiple revisions, only the initial v1 is made available.
Goal: incremental improvement until worthy of native arXiv adoption.

Sample: A Simple Proof of the Quadratic Formula (1910.06709)

View any arXiv article URL by changing the X to a 5


Harmon | ETDplus Toolkit [Tool Review] | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) have traditionally taken the form of PDFs and ETD programs and their submission and curation procedures have been built around this format. However, graduate students are increasingly creating non-PDF files during their research, and in some cases these files are just as or more important than the PDFs that must be submitted to satisfy degree requirements. As a result, both graduate students and ETD administrators need training and resources to support the handling of a wide variety of complex digital objects. The Educopia Institute’s ETDplus Toolkit provides a highly usable set of modules to address this need, openly licensed to allow for reuse and adaption to a variety of potential use cases.


The Other Diversity in Scholarly Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

“If we explore other aspects of scholarly publishing — publication format, workflow, data sharing mechanisms, copyright, or licensing — we will find diverse options in practice. We may explain such diversity as a manifestation of the vibrant innovation culture of this industry driven by the needs from its stakeholders. To understand what value such diversity brings about, let’s compare it with the biodiversity we see around us….”

ResearchHub | Open Science Community

“ResearchHub’s mission is to accelerate the pace of scientific research. Our goal is to make a modern mobile and web application where people can collaborate on scientific research in a more efficient way, similar to what GitHub has done for software engineering.

Researchers are able to upload articles (preprint or postprint) in PDF form, summarize the findings of the work in an attached wiki, and discuss the findings in a completely open and accessible forum dedicated solely to the relevant article.

Within ResearchHub, papers are grouped in “Hubs” by area of research. Individual Hubs will essentially act as live journals within focused areas, within highly upvoted posts. (i.e the paper and its associated summary and discussion) moving to the top of each Hub.

To help bring this nascent community together and incentivize contribution to the platform, a newly created ERC20 token, ResearchCoin (RSC), has been created. Users receive RSC for uploading new content to the platform, as well as for summarizing and discussion research. Rewards for contributions are proportionate to how valuable the community perceives the actions to be – as measured by upvotes.”


[Open letter to two members of Congress in support of OA for CRS reports]

“Thank you for your ongoing efforts to provide oversight and direction to the Library of Congress and for your service on the oldest continuing joint committee of the U.S. Congress. We respectfully request that you direct the Congressional Research Service to publish all non-confidential CRS Reports online….

Congress has endorsed public availability of non-confidential CRS Reports, as have former CRS employees, civil society, and academics. Indeed, long standing congressional policy 5 6 7 has allowed Members and committees to distribute CRS products to the public over the decades and now directs the CRS to prospectively make the reports publicly available. “Non-current CRS reports,” i.e., reports not published on CRS’s internal website after the 2018 Appropriations law’s enactment date, still have relevance for members of Congress, staff, and the public. These reports provide context for issues under deliberation and illuminate choices made by members of Congress concerning policy questions that still are relevant today. CRS Reports are often cited in significant historical works of scholarship. In fact, the continued relevance of non-current CRS Reports is why, in part, CRS maintains a digitized archive of some reports for use by CRS employees that often are shared with congressional staff….

Congressional Research Service Reports enrich the legislative process and help inform public debate. We appreciate your attention to addressing public availability of non-current CRS Reports and publication of all non-confidential CRS Reports in more flexible formats….” 

iPhylo: Revisiting RSS to monitor the latest taxonomic research

“Over a decade ago RSS (RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) was attracting a lot of interest as a way to integrate data across various websites. Many science publishers would provide a list of their latest articles in XML in one of three flavours of RSS (RDF, RSS, Atom). This led to tools such as uBioRSS [1] and my own e-Biosphere Challenge: visualising biodiversity digitisation in real time. It was a time of enthusiasm for aggregating lots of data, such as the ill-fated PLoS Biodiversity Hub [2].

Since I seem to be condemned to revisit old ideas rather than come up with anything new, I’ve been looking at providing a tool like the now defunct uBioRSS. The idea is to harvest RSS feeds from journals (with an emphasis on taxonomic and systematic journals), aggregate the results, and make them browsable by taxon and geography. Here’s a sneak peak: …”

If It’s Open, Is It Accessible? – Association of Research Libraries

“The library and open access (OA) publishing communities have made great strides in making more new scholarship openly available. But have we included readers with vision challenges in our OA plans? Only an estimated 7% of all printed works are available in accessible format, and that statistic might not significantly differ for digital scholarship worldwide….

Libraries need to consider accessibility of the document format, as well as accessibility of the tools and platforms they typically use for OA journal and monograph publishing, storage, and access. According to a blog post by the UX designer for the Directory of Open Access Journals last year, testing of a platform’s web interface can be done easily through free tools such as Lighthouse and Accessibility Insights for Web, both available as web browser extensions, which test accessibility against the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA.

Earlier this year, the Open Journal Systems (OJS) team at the Public Knowledge Project noted the strides that their Accessibility Interest Group team has made to improve the accessibility of OJS 3.3. Next up, they will be working on a guide to help journal editors create more accessible content within OJS.


This leads to the question of the format of open content. Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF), ubiquitous and a de facto standard for digital publishing, is typically not the best format for accessibility. Certainly, PDFs can be made WCAG-compliant, but one must make careful efforts to do so….”

Designing a useful textbook for an open access audience – Q and A with Filipe Campante, Federico Sturzenegger and Andrés Velasco, authors of Advanced Macroeconomics: An Easy Guide? | Impact of Social Sciences

Textbooks play an important role in defining fields of research and summarising key academic ideas for a wider audience. But how do you do this for an open access audience that is potentially unlimited? We talked to Filipe Campante, Federico Sturzenegger and Andrés Velasco¸ authors of the recently published LSE Press book Advanced Macroeconomics: An Easy Guide, about how the field has changed in recent times, what makes their approach to macro-economics distinctive, and what rationales and ambitions lie behind producing an open access textbook.

Why most academic journals are following outdated publishing practices

“In his Medium article “Scholarly publishing is stuck in 1999,”

Springer Nature product manager Stephen Cornelius reproaches the outdated publishing practices many academic journals are using to produce online content. He notes that, despite decades of technological advancement, “research publishing seems stuck with those that were employed when it first went online.” Cornelius points to many areas of digital journal publishing that have been designed to mirror print publishing, such as journals formatting online articles as print-based PDFs, despite there being better ways to produce and present content online….

PDFs are rife with limitations as compared to HTML because, unlike HTML, PDFs:

Cannot support embedded multi-media research files such as videos
Have a poor layout for online reading, generally using columns that require readers to scroll up and down to read content on the same page
Are nearly impossible to read on mobile devices because PDFs are a static page (whereas HTML can be made to have a responsive design)
Do not easily allow for clickable references within the text
Are overwhelmingly not search-optimized for online browsers…

A recent article in The Atlantic titled “The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete“ explores the limitations of PDFs and the need for journals, particularly in STEM fields, to adopt internet-based publishing formats in order to support more dynamic presentations of research as well as to make it easier for readers to find articles online….”