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Publication Accessibility Recommendations

In this document, we identify barriers to engagement with publications for people with a wide range of ability, cognition, and learning style. We give suggestions for their removal and make higher-level suggestions for further identifying barriers unlisted by us here and staying on top of anticipating the access needs of the community.

  • Navigation: small clickable elements present a barrier for those with motor impairments, documents without proper tagging for navigation impede screen reader navigation, inconsistency in formats/organization can cause disorientation/confusion, equations that aren't compatible with screen reader math interpreters or aren't easy to navigate back to/re-read require memorization that makes engaging with the text much more difficult;  
  • Content: information accessibility necessitates clarity and attention to organization, descriptive text helps non-visual learners;
  • Layout and style: users should be able to easily re-format documents as needed (e.g., font choice/size), layouts and formats should be simple, easily navigable, easily manipulable, and accessibility should be prioritized;
  • Graphics and charts: use colorblind intuitive palettes, figure captions should be as descriptive as possible, data from figures and tables should be made available in readily manipulable format for, e.g., sonification; 
  • Multimodal access: multiple formats engage the broadest range of learning styles.

Recommendations for authors: consider accessibility of figures and text. Employ a program like Color Oracle to check whether your figures convey their point to people of all color visions. Fully describe figures in the captions. Use descriptive text and be as clear as possible in explanations.

Recommendations for the publication: train staff on accessibility, provide recommendations to authors as part of the submission instructions, and ask referees to assess a paper's accessibility per provided rubric. Survey the community regarding access needs, perform user-centered studies to assess whether currently accessible, repeat assessments periodically as technologies evolve.

Full publication accessibility recommendations: (.docx) (.pdf)