Advancing Accessibility in Publishing

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Advancing Accessibility in Publishing

Advancing Accessibility Education in Library Publishing Ally Laird and Angel Peterson, Penn State University Libraries

The Marrakesh Treaty is a Lose-Lose Proposition for Publishers Robert Martinengo

PNAS Accessibility Roadmap Chloe Fells and Michael Hardesty, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

GW Ethics in Publishing Conference 2021

Advancing Accessibility Education in Library Publishing The Pennsylvania State University Libraries Open Publishing Program publishes scholarly annotated bibliographies, journals, monographs, and topical web portals in partnership with editors and authors across Penn State and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Making the content that we host freely available and accessible to all is a core value and part of how we measure success within our library publishing program. We are continually looking for ways to enhance our accessibility workflows and lessen the burden on editors as they make their content accessible.

To this end, we began providing accessibility training in 2020 for editors of new journals supported by our program. The pilot program included providing information on how to make journal articles accessible in Word, PDF, InDesign, and HTML formats. The feedback from these trainings and a needs assessment survey we sent to all our editors in early 2020 were used to create and customize an “Accessibility Handout for Editors” document. All the feedback and information are also being collected and organized for use in an accessibility training module Penn State Libraries Open Publishing hopes to have ready for internal use in the next 1-2 years.

In this presentation, we will review the steps used to create the accessibility handout, how we customized our accessibility trainings for new editors, and the plans for a future accessibility training module for our editors, especially as part of the onboarding process for new publications. Additionally, we will share about the accessibility training and discussions the Penn State Libraries Open Publishing program staff participates in monthly in order to continually improve our knowledge of accessibility and improve our program's services.

Ally Laird is the Open Publishing Program Coordinator for the Open Publishing Program at Penn State University Libraries. Ally has been in the publishing industry for 9 years, beginning her career with a small academic publisher before moving to Springer Nature. Ally moved to library-based publishing in 2017 when she started at Penn State and loved that she could marry her passions for libraries and academic publishing into a single career. Her desire to make content openly available quickly grew and expanded into a desire to ensure that “openness” extends to all forms of accessibility for all users. Ally is very active within the Library Publishing Coalition and currently serves the community as the Treasurer for the LPC Board.

Angel Peterson is the Open Publishing Production Specialist within the Open Publishing Program at Penn State University Libraries. Angel has worked for Penn State Libraries for 14 years in several departments. For the past year and a half, she has worked for the Open Publishing Program. Creating accessible content has been a passion of hers for many years and she hopes to be able to continue to improve upon the services the program provides their editors, in hopes of making content open and accessible. Angel serves on the DEI Committee of the Library Publishing Coalition.

The Marrakesh Treaty is a Lose-Lose Proposition for Publishers The goal of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (VIP) is to create mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled persons. The Treaty entered force on September 30, 2016. But rather than encouraging publishers to offer accessible products, the Treaty creates incentives for non-profit agencies to build unaccountable, walled gardens of free content for the print-disabled, further separating them from mainstream publishing. Proponents of the Treaty used emotionally charged language to paint VIP's as victims of a "book famine", and they continue to oppose publisher-friendly provisions as countries adopt the Treaty. The Treaty has inverted common sense, but there are still ways to bring authors and publishers together with readers with disabilities that do not promote segregation. I have been making textbooks accessible to students with disabilities for over twenty years. I have come to understand technology is not the main barrier to accessible publishing. The roots of the problem lie in the 'non-profit charity industrial complex', and that is where I am focusing my efforts.

Robert Martinengo has been a trailblazer in accessible publishing for education for over twenty years, including managing the AccessText Network as it grew to 100,000 requests annually. He is currently working on a new regulatory framework for a more accessible internet.

PNAS Accessibility Roadmap Equitable publishing is a hot topic in the industry, and making content accessible to the largest number of readers is the hottest of hot topics. But how do journals, and notably self-published nonprofit journals, make content accessible to readers with disabilities? A new, proactive approach is needed to make strides in equitable, inclusive, and accessible content; journals should be driving this process through creative ingenuity that is Pareto improving for its authors and readers—trading yesterday’s static content for dynamic and interactive solutions that improve accessibility. PNAS shares our own roadmapping experience to illustrate potential ways to put accessibility principles into practice today. Our upcoming platform migration provided an excellent opportunity to put accessibility at the heart of what we do, allowing us to focus on optimal design and functionality.

Chloe Fells is currently a Production Editor with the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She has Masters in Professional Studies in Publishing from GW and has a background working on accessible materials. After a first office job lead to working with vendors to convert materials into braille and other accessible formats, she has since pursued her passion for accessible publishing by leading efforts to enact inclusive language policies and acting as a leading member of the PNAS Accessibility Working Group.

In his current role as the Digital Product Manager for PNAS, Michael Hardesty manages the product roadmap and leads digital strategy for the society publishing program. A self-anointed generalist, he applies a mix of user experience design, data analytics and usability research to his work. Seeking out ways to make scholarly content more accessible for all stakeholders is key to scientific communication and a central component to the PNAS product development process.

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