UK: Taylor & Francis Signs Accessible Publishing Charter

In News by Porter Anderson

Taylor & Francis’ accessibility lead Stacy Scott has signed two charters in the company’s commitment to accessible publishing.

Image: Getty iStockphoto: Chansom Pantip

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Scott: ‘Not Just Aspirations but Our Practice’
Today’s year-end news (December 15) that England’s academic publisher Taylor & Francis, based in Abingdon, has signed both the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) Charter for Accessible Publishing and the United Kingdom’s Publishing Accessibility Action Group (PAAG) charter.

This announcement from Stacy Scott, the company’s accessibility officer—who joined Publishing Perspectives in Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s “Accessibility in Action” panel discussion in October—is a timely capper to a quickening round of news, awareness, and activity in world publishing’s attention to the need for accessible publishing.

In the case of the consortium’s charter, Taylor & Francis reports that its operations already meet all eight commitments specified by the accord, including publishing an accessibility policy (here is Taylor & Francis’ site’s discussion of this), as well as technical training for staff, incorporating accessibility features within digital publications, and providing a point of contact to assist people with print disabilities.

The still relatively new Publishing Accessibility Action Group in the United Kingdom—here is its mission statement—is chaired by Scott, and the signatories of its charter commit to “making content accessible to all and to aid others in this endeavor.” Taylor & Francis reports that it also meets all 10 requirements of this charter, which include appointing a company accessibility champion (that’s Scott at Taylor & Francis), utilizing available accessibility metadata opportunities, and testing and validating content to ensure it’s usable by people with print disabilities.

Stacy Scott

In commenting on today’s news of the double-charter signings by Taylor & Francis, Scott is quoted, saying, “These charters are a great opportunity for our industry to state our shared commitment to ensuring everyone can access the same content at the same time, regardless of their reading requirements.

“The team at Taylor & Francis has made tremendous progress in improving the accessibility of our publications over recent years and we’re proud that the standards set out in these charters are not just aspirations but our practice.

“There is though always more to do, so signing these charters also demonstrates our determination to reach the goal of every Taylor & Francis product and service being born accessible.”

Taylor & Francis in July has achieved the nonprofit Benetech program’s Global Accessible Publisher certification (preceded by Simon & Schuster, incidentally, as the first US trade publisher to get this certification). Taylor & Francis publishes all of its new books in ePub format.

2022: Quick Acceleration in Accessibility

The momentum has picked up markedly in 2022 for accessible publishing, particularly with the European Accessibility Act set to go into force in the summer of 2025. At that point, even international book publishing players who want to sell work into the European markets will have to conform with the requirements of the act.

That legislation, as laid out by the European Commission, has as a goal, seeing to it that “people with disabilities and elderly people will benefit from:

  • “More accessible products and services in the market
  • “Accessible products and services at more competitive prices
  • “Fewer barriers when accessing transport, education and the open labor market
  • “More jobs available where accessibility expertise is needed”

This includes a directive that all published material will have to meet standards of accessibility for reading-challenged citizens, and the approach of the requirement has had the desired effect this year. The world publishing industry is responding, researching, producing educational and analytical programming in its professional programs in many parts of the world, creating an increasingly coherent context for the copyright exception-generating Marrakesh Treaty from the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva (WIPO).

Many international book fair and trade show events included accessibility in their 2022 programming, as at the International Publishers Association‘s (IPA) International Publishers Congress in Jakarta in November, followed by the accessibility seminar produced by Hugo Setzer, president of the Cámara Nacional de la Industria Editorial Mexicana (CANIEM), at the Guadalajara International Book Fair with IPA participation and that of the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), a program seated at WIPO.

So it is that our Publishing Perspectives readers have noticed a decisive uptick in articles and programming relating to accessibility, the importance of publishers working for a “born accessible” framework in their workplaces and processes, and an accelerating understanding that accessible publishing means more revenue as well as doing what’s right: an enormous world market of readers awaits the coming expansion of accessibly published content.

See also:
Scholastic in ‘Rocket Park’ Deal With France’s Gaumont
WIPO’s Accessible Books Consortium Names Its Award Shortlists
Guadalajara: CANIEM’s Seminar on Accessible Publishing
IPA’s Africa Publishing Innovation Fund Pivots to Accessibility in Fourth Year
The Emirates’ Kalimat Foundation To Publish Under Marrakesh Treaty

Canada’s Literary Press Group: Accessible Ebooks
Italian Publishers Explore Accessible Publishing for University Students

A note to our readers who regularly listen to the Copyright Clearance Center podcast “Velocity of Content” hosted and produced by Christopher Kenneally: The program this month is running a weekly series of year-end episodes that look back at some of the strongest material from the year. You can find, for example, the program’s “Recipes for a Healthy Information Diet” here. And for those who prefer the speed of being able to read a transcript (this reporter may be right with you on this), you’ll find that extremely handy document here

More from Publishing Perspectives on accessibility in publishing is here, more on Taylor & Francis is here, more on the United Kingdom’s market is here, and more on academic and scholarly publishing is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the International Publishers Association.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.