The first in our Inclusive Kent Series brings some exciting news about how accessibility is being embedded in research and scholarly communications systems and processes at the University of Kent.
- supporting applications to secure funding for research projects by planning where, when, how and with whom research findings will be shared, and planning how to organise, secure and archive research data
- Enabling Open Access publishing, providing guidance on where and how to publish the outcomes of research, how to manage copyright and how to licence research works for use, resuse and sharing
- Looking after and advocating for key online systems that support research at the University of Kent.
A reflective case study
The paper published by the team, Embedding accessibility in research support and scholarly communication systems and processes reflects on how, in the context of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations (2018), improvements are being made to accessibility across research systems at the university. The authors, Josie Caplehorne, Rosalyn Bass, Helen Cooper, Suzanne Duffy and Liam Green-Hughes (Information Services), share their methodologies and break down the steps they are taking to embed inclusive practices across the Kent Academic Repository, Kent Data Repository, and Kent’s Open Journal System. They explore the steps they undertake and what their learnings are from each stage. Sarah Slowe, Assistant Director for Academic Strategy, Planning, and Performance, describes the work as being a “real testament to values and visions driving change that can often be seen as ‘add on’ or ‘extra’ to core work”. She also reflected on the “years of work in identifying problems, possible solutions, collaboration, communication, prioritisation, and ultimately…making real change”.
Making real change
Kent Academic Repository (KAR)
Kent Data Repository (KDR)
Open Journal System (OJS)
OJS is an open-source software for managing and publishing Open Access scholarly journals, used by academic researchers to publish articles, and was originally developed and released by the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University in Canada. The University of Kent uses OJS to publish four Open Access scholarly journals. Unlike some traditional publishing models, authors are not charged an article processing charge and readers can openly access content. Making improvements to OJS accessibility involves multiple processes, due to the number of stakeholders involved in developing and maintaining the overall platform and each of the editors who manage the individual journals. To support our editors to maximise the accessibility of their journals, training is now offered and can be provided by the University’s OPERA Team. The training covers the legal requirements of the accessibility legislation, the importance of accessibility and inclusive practices, and practical support to create accessible content. When a prospective editorial team are making an application to host a new journal with the University of Kent, they must meet certain criteria which now includes providing fully accessible website and journal content. We implemented this in March 2018, ahead of the changes to UK law, to ensure equitable access for all to University of Kent published journals. If a new journal does not agree to meet these conditions, the journal proposal will be declined.