With 10-15% of the global population struggling with some form of print disability, the accessibility of publications is essential to open up access for a broad array of people. Text-to-speech enables access by people with disabilities who might otherwise struggle to see, read, or interact with ebooks. Elsevier is committed to providing universal access to quality content in sustainable ways, and works to identify and close access gaps. For those who struggle to see or read text, ebooks that read aloud can provide a powerful form of access. This will make it easier for bright and talented people who happen to have print disabilities to become scientists in the future.
Dr Alicia Wise, Director of Universal Access at Elsevier, said: "Elsevier and the publishing industry are working hard to make more publications accessible to people with print disabilities. There is much more work to be done in partnership with accessibility experts and a range of software developers and device manufacturers. For example, there are key challenges related to the accessibility of highly structured and illustrated textbooks, mathematical formulae, and highly specialised and interactive scientific databases. All of our products and services must work well together to ensure that accessible content can be discovered and used by a person with print disabilities."
Recognised for its accessibility efforts by receipt of the first Publisher Lookup Award in April 2010 ( http://www.techdis.ac.uk/index.php?p=9_12_4) Elsevier continues to be very active in accessible publishing initiatives at industry level, cooperating with industry bodies such as the International Publishers Association (IPA), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), the Publishers Association (PA), the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM).