The aim of the SIDPT strategic partnership is to promote the creation and distribution of accessible publications by providing practical training material for professionals working in the publishing ecosystem. The learning material will be developed by project partners BrailleNet (France), Dedicon (The Netherlands) and Johannes Kepler Universität Linz (Austria). Content will be available on an online platform, Inclusive Publishing in Practice, in English, French, Dutch and German under an open license from late 2021.
Context and background
According to the European Blind Union, there are estimated to be over 30 million blind and partially sighted persons in geographical Europe, with an average of 1 in 30 Europeans experiencing sight loss. The average unemployment rate of blind and partially sighted persons of working age is over 75 percent. In addition, there are millions of people who are not able to adequately use printed materials, including those with dyslexia, motor disabilities and cognitive disabilities. Collectively, these groups are often referred to as the “print impaired”.
According to the World Blind Union only 5% of published works, such as books and educational materials, are currently available in accessible formats. The move to digital books and supports, however, has the potential to greatly increase access to reading for the print impaired. Recognising this, the European Accessibility Act, which was voted into parliament on the 13 March 2019 and published in June 2019, has ruled that all European publishers must make their digital books accessible.
Member states are waking up to the challenges and opportunities brought about by inclusive digital publishing. Some countries have begun to address this question through public policy and sectoral advocacy, but even the most mature environments lack detailed instructional material geared towards all stakeholders in the publication chain. Publishers struggle to recruit professionals with the necessary know-how as there is a critical skills gap in this field and expertise is a scarce resource. With digital publishing very much in its embryonic phase, the experts need to work together cross border to exchange knowledge and best practices and share these with current and future professionals working in the publication ecosystem.
The SIDPT strategic partnership brings together BrailleNet (France), Dedicon (The Netherlands) and Johannes Kepler Universität Linz (Austria).
- Build and streamline key accessibility competences and skills that are currently missing from professions involved in the production of digital publications from a wide variety of sectors.
- Raise and standardise the overall quality of digital content that is produced within the new legislative context, particularly in preparation for the transnational exchange of accessible digital publications.
- Build partnerships that support best practice within the publishing ecosystem.
- Raise awareness around the need for accessible digital publications.
- Provide practical and effective learning materials for publishers and producers of digital publications, so they can make content accessible and implement accessibility requirements into their workflows.
- Increase the number and quality of titles and inclusive materials available to people with print disabilities.
The partnership will design, develop, implement and deliver a detailed learning resource to support the publishing ecosystem in the creation and delivery of accessible publications. It will be available in four languages: English, French, Dutch and German. The results of the SIDPT strategic partnership will be available online under an open license for use both as an Open Educational Resource (OER) and in the context of formal curricular.