Celebrating the Steps Towards Accessibility in OJS

May 20th, 2021 by  | Comments Off on Celebrating the Steps Towards Accessibility in OJS

Today we celebrate the Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) and the progress that PKP and the OJS community have made towards making scholarly publishing more accessible – and thus open for all.

This update provided by members of PKP Accessibility Interest Group (AIG) follows the May 2020 overview of PKP’s steps towards accessibility in OJS and the February 2021 report on accessibility improvements in OJS 3.3.

Accessible Default Theme and Beyond

Release of the accessible Default theme front-end as part of OJS 3.3 was a major milestone this year. This work builds on a multi-year effort undertaken by PKP and our external accessibility consultant that included an initial audit, remediation of identified issues, and subsequent audit of the OJS public interface. Accessibility issues identified in the audit report, completed tickets and ongoing work can be viewed in the PKP Accessibility Github Project.

With the help of the Accessibility Interest Group, PKP also conducted its first round of usability testing with users of assistive technologies and non-English speakers. We are committed to continue including a diverse group of users in our ongoing UX testing. If you would like to contribute to this work, please contact us.

Next Steps for OJS

With work completed on the Default Theme in OJS 3.3, our consultant prepared a summary report which will become the basis of the OJS Accessibility Statement that outlines WCAG compliance of the theme, and any concerns that still need to be addressed. We expect to publish this statement in the coming weeks.

Next on our roadmap is tackling accessibility in OJS back-end, including the submission process and editorial workflow.

What About Content?

Published content is at the core of OJS and the reason for the platform’s existence. While PKP has no control over the content published by journals that use OJS, we believe that as a community we can make a difference by providing editors with tools and resources to create accessible content.

With this goal in mind, the AIG developed the Creating Accessible Content: A Guide for Journal Editors and Authors that has also been translated into Portuguese. Furthermore, the group is currently working on an outline for a PKP School course on accessibility for journal editors.

And, to lead by example, the AIG partnered with the PKP Documentation Interest Group (DIG) to improve the accessibility of the PKP Documentation Hub content. A big portion of this work involved creating alternative text for the many screenshots in our guides.

Finally, the AIG earned an honourable mention in Talea Anderson’s new open access book Accessibility Case Studies for Scholarly Communication Librarians and Practitioners.

We would like to thank all of our community and group members for their continued contribution toward accessibility in PKP software and scholarly publishing. If you’re interested in getting involved – either by joining the group, filing issues, and/or participating in user testing – please contact us.

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