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….”

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