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Updated 20th December 2023

Our commitment to accessibility

Oxford University Press continuously strives to make its products accessible to and inclusive of all our users, including those with visual, hearing, cognitive, or motor impairments.

To support these goals, we follow the general principles of web usability and universal design and, where feasible, endeavour to make the Oxford Academic platform (Oxford Academic) accessible to all regardless of physical or cognitive impairment or the device used.

Information for blind users

  • All content and interactive elements on the page are usable with screen readers
  • Forms and inputs have been labelled so that their purpose is communicated via a screen reader
  • All pages have skip navigation links so that repeated navigation elements can be bypassed
  • New features are tested with the NVDA and the Google Chrome screen reader. Our VPAT assessment was conducted using JAWS.
  • Images within article content have alternative text provided. This replicates the image caption presented onscreen.
  • Information on how to request accessible copies of content in any format is available on this page, under the section ‘How to request accessible copies of our publications’.

Information for partially-sighted and low-vision users

  • All pages have been designed so that brightness contrast levels comply with the WCAG AA standard of 4.5:1 between foreground and background colours
  • All pages can be magnified up to 400% and the page content will reflow so that all the content is presented on the page without the need for horizontal scrolling
  • There may be browser features or extensions that will support your individual needs, such as changing text size and colour, or system settings or applications that can override colours on this site
  • Adjusting monitor settings to change brightness, contrast or colour settings, or using a physical coloured monitor overlays may also provide extra support when using this site
  • Further tips and guidance for making adjustments to your computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone to make it easier to use can be found on the AbilityNet My Computer My Way resource.

Information for keyboard-only users

  • All elements of this site should be reachable and usable with a keyboard
  • Elements that can be used with a keyboard should display a visible focus outline when the element has been reached by the keyboard. The site will display the default outline style as determined by your browser, currently for Chrome this is a solid outline, and for Firefox or Internet Explorer this is a dotted outline
  • Dropdowns and expandable menus can be opened by pressing Enter. Items within the menu can then be navigated using the Tab key. Check boxes can be checked or unchecked using the space bar
  • Skip navigation links are present on every page to avoid having to tab through repeated page elements each time the page loads

Text-to-speech compatibility

Some users of the platform may benefit from listening to text. The platform does not currently include an embedded text-to-speech tool, although this is being considered as part of our roadmap. However, text-to-speech compatibility is:

  • Built in to the Edge browser
  • Available as plug-ins for Chrome and Firefox browsers
  • Built into most modern digital devices such as PCs, Macs, tablets and smart phones.

Available formats

The majority of the content on Oxford Academic is available in both PDF and HTML format. The sections below provide guidance on how to navigate the HTML content.

To open PDF files, you will need a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader is highly configurable for visually impaired and motion-impaired users. For guidance, please see this document: Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features

We are working on the accessibility of the PDF versions of articles. Currently these PDFs are not tagged and embedded images do not have alternative text, although the image caption is provided adjacent to the image and can be read by a screenreader. We are aiming to improve the accessibility of our PDFs and will update this page when those improvements have been made.


The site can be navigated with both a mouse and a keyboard. Please see below for some specific guidance on navigating the site:

Skip links

Each page contains a skip link that will jump you to the main content on the page, bypassing the site toolbars which appear on every page. The skip link is the first link on every page and reads ‘Skip to Main Content’. The link appears as soon as you use the tab key to tab into the page. The skip links will take you to different locations depending on the page, but in the majority of cases the links will jump to the first link in the page’s left-hand column:

  • Oxford Academic Homepage -> link to About Us
  • Advanced Search page -> search text input box
  • Results page -> search text input box
  • Journal homepage -> notice bar / link to latest issue when notice bar is not in use
  • Journal issue page -> browse issues navigation
  • Journal article page -> journal issue cover (links back to journal issue page)
  • Journal advance articles page -> link to first article listed

For information pages associated with each journal the skip link will take you to the first heading on the page.


There are several dropdown menus across the site. Dropdowns in the navigation bars will open on mouse-click or by pressing Enter on a keyboard when the menu receives focus. Note that the Share menu on the article page opens on mouse-hover. All dropdown menus are usable with a keyboard, by tabbing to the menu and then pressing Enter/Return to open the menu. The items within each menu can be reached by pressing the Tab key, and the menus can be closed again by Shift+Tabbing back to the menu link and pressing Enter/Return, or by opening another menu, or by clicking outside of the menu with a mouse.


Several site features such as article references, article citation, alert sign-up, or adding comments to an article are contained within popups. Popups appear on-screen once their link has been activated with a mouse or keyboard. When the popup opens the background fades to a dark grey. When a keyboard is used to open a popup, the focus will be pulled into the popup and remain within the popup until the user tabs to the ‘Close’ icon. When the popup closes the focus returns to the original link that opened the popup.


All links within the site are reachable and usable with a mouse and keyboard. When a link receives focus it will be outlined by your browser’s default outline style, which is currently a solid outline in Chrome, and dotted outlines in IE, Edge and Firefox. Links can be activated with a keyboard by using the Tab key to reach the link, then pressing Enter/Return.

Navigating journal issues and articles

Journal issues and articles are presented with a ‘table of contents’ on the left side of the page, which is populated with jump links to sections of the issue or article. The table of contents can be easily reached by using the ‘Skip to Main Content’ link on each page: on issue pages activating the skip link will take you first to the Browse issues box, then tabbing beyond that box will take you to the left-hand column with the table of contents. On article pages skipping to main content will take you straight to the left-hand column.

Articles can be navigated using heading hierarchies – the first heading level will be the article title, with section headings and sub-section headings tagged with an appropriate heading level. Most articles contain section headings, but some articles that are still in the ‘Accepted Manuscript’ stage may not have these headings yet.

How accessible is Oxford Academic?

We are currently targeting adherence to level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1), in order to help our users take full advantage of the accessibility features provided by their chosen device, web browser or operating system. You can find below a list of the improvements we have so far delivered, in the section titled ‘Our programme of continuous improvement’.

However, we do recognise that some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • some of our older archive content has been generated from scanned PDFs and is therefore not fully-accessible. Where possible we have supplied a HTML alternative.
  • some tables and diagrams contained within HTML format content are presented as images
  • some images within HTML content do not include alt-text but most include adjacent descriptions
  • no audio descriptions are currently present for videos, but automated synchronised captions are available for some videos.
  • third party software is used to enhance the user experience, for example: Hypothesis annotation tool, Code Ocean widget, Usabilla user feedback tool.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that any third party we work with provide accessible software we cannot guarantee full AA compliance. Please let us know if you experience any problems (contact details provided below).

Browser and mobile device support

Oxford Academic is optimised for modern browsers including Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Google Chrome.

The site is responsive, meaning that the content reflows depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used.

If you find any issues with accessing the content in any format or an any device, please get in touch via Customer Services and we will address the issue.

How we test this website

Our sites are regularly assessed by an independent third party with expertise in identifying accessibility issues. Any issues identified are added to our development roadmap for remediation at the earliest opportunity.

Additionally, our in-house platform development team includes an accessibility expert who oversees our development roadmap to ensure that existing and new features and functionality are fully accessible in line with WCAG 2.1 AA. The team also benefits from the input of partially-sighted users, both in development and testing.

We have also taken steps to embed accessibility considerations throughout our development process. This means that every time we consider a new feature or functionality, or a change to an existing feature, ensuring that the feature is fully accessible for all users is front and centre in our planning and analysis.

We also work closely with our external development partners to ensure that they are fully invested in our commitment to accessibility for all.

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

We have commissioned independent VPAT assessment reports to help us better understand how we can improve accessibility on Oxford Academic in line with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (US). Please download our latest assessment below. As we develop and improve our accessibility offering, we will provide updated VPATs on this page.

VPAT Assessment 2023

How to help us improve access to Oxford Academic

Our commitment to providing accessible and inclusive content is an ongoing activity. If you have any comments or insights on accessibility that you would like to share with us to help us in this mission, please contact

How to request accessible copies of our publications

OUP works in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) – one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people – to provide access to OUP’s academic books.  Through an agreement with RNIB Bookshare, users needing accessible and adaptive file types can access all of OUP’s frontlist collections.

To obtain an accessible version of a book please visit Customers outside of the UK should continue to contact OUP Customer Services.

Digital rights management (DRM)

Content on Oxford Academic that isn’t open access (OA) or available free for promotional or other reasons for a limited time is only available to authenticated users and is thus subject to digital rights management.

A content item’s availability status is indicated using one of four status icons – Open Access, Free, Available and Available for Purchase. The meaning of the icons is viewable on hover-over and is read by screen-readers. 

Copying and Printing

For the purposes of research, teaching and private study only, authorized users may:

  1. Electronically save portions of the licensed material. For reference purposes, 5% of a journal issue would be considered to be an acceptable ‘portion’
  2. Print out a single copy of a portion of the licensed materials
  3. For users based within a subscribing pharmaceutical company, a print or electronic copy of the licensed material may be provided for use in national or international regulatory authority submissions.

Our programme of continuous improvement

Oxford Academic complies with applicable law relating to accessibility (including with the obligations under The Equality Act 2010) and much of Oxford Academic is already accessible in accordance with WCAG 2.1. We are making ongoing improvements, however, and to accomplish these, we have a committed investment and development programme to deliver improved accessibility compliance over the coming months and beyond.

Since commencing this programme, these are the areas we have improved:

Keyboard use:

  • Improved the accessibility of tree list navigation on all page types/content types so that users can use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate between trees, and so that it is clearly indicated to users the status of the node expansion.
  • When using the tab key to navigate the search page, the 'Sort By' field is given focus after the 'Save Search' link and before any pagination buttons.
  • Removed an empty link in the page header, so that navigation with a keyboard is easier and less confusing
  • Modified the navigation bar so that the search feature is fully usable with a keyboard at all levels of magnification
  • Updated the Sign In menu so that it is fully usable with a keyboard
  • Updated the Communication Preferences page so that it is fully usable with a keyboard
  • Ensured that all reference links within the body of an article are accessible via keyboard, receive visible focus when tabbed to, and resolve to a working reference link.
  • Ensured that users can tab to and open valid table or figure links in the article body using a keyboard. Each table or figure link receives visible focus.
  • Fixed an issue where the cover image link on the issue page was not accessible to keyboard users
  • Ensured that when a keyboard user tabs through the left column of an article page, visible focus directly returns to the authors in the article body or the article category label if applicable without skipping any links
  • Reference popups are now fully usable with a keyboard
  • All reference links are reachable with a keyboard and receive visible focus
  • Ensured that the 'Journal Citation' filter is fully accessible via keyboard
  • Cover image links on issue cover browse pages are fully accessible via keyboard. When activated, focus resolves directly to the modal, and users can tab through the modal to the close button ("X"), which also receives visible focus.
  • The author information flyout is fully accessible via keyboard, with each item receiving visible focus
  • The issue page left rail dropdown arrows receive visible focus and all elements are full accessible to keyboard users
  • When the Multimedia Gallery modal is activated, users are able to tab through the modal and activate each link, with each item receiving visible focus
  • When a link within the 'Email alerts' widget is activated, all elements of the modal are fully accessible for keyboard-only users
  • Users are able to tab to each link within the 'Email alerts' widget, with each link receiving visible focus
  • The search dropdown in the article toolbar always receives visible focus and is fully accessible to keyboard-only users
  • When in 'Split view' mode, keyboard users are able to tab to the 'Standard view' button which receives visible focus, is read by a screen-reader and can be activated by the 'Enter' or 'Return' key
  • The Article Navigation and Modify Your Search menus found when the site is viewed at 175% magnification or larger, or when the window width is less than 1024 pixels, now receive focus as soon as they are opened with a keyboard. All items within the menus receive visible focus and can be reached and used with a keyboard.
  • When a taxonomy alert is added, the confirmation modal appears entirely on-screen, and is fully accessible via keyboard
  • Amended the 'Commenting terms and conditions modal' on article pages, so that keyboard-only users can accept the terms/conditions and comment on the articles

Screen-reader use:

  • Updated the HTML attributes of tables on books and journals content pages to improve the experience for screen-reader users, giving them more control to focus on a single cell in a table.
  • Improved the accessibility of tree list navigation, so that screen-reader users can more easily navigate the lists and are informed when nodes are expanded/collapsed.
  • Updated the search results abstract, extract, and lay summary expand and contract toggles to improve text font color, icon display and to add aria attributes
  • Updated the journal citation search filter expand and contract toggle to include button and screen-reader text updates, icon display updates and to add aria attributes
  • Upon clicking ‘Add Term’ in the query builder users are informed that the new field has been added and the query builder input label and the label for the quick-search input field in the header will read “Enter search term”.
  • Improved how search filters are labelled on the Advanced Search page, so that screen-reading software can better identify form fields
  • Corrected the page header on so that an unnecessary link has been removed
  • Corrected left rail navigation heading structure on article pages to work properly with screen-readers
  • Corrected heading levels in the issue and article page right rail to work properly with screen-readers
  • Corrected left rail navigation heading structure on search pages to work properly with screen-readers
  • Removed empty links in the reference sections of articles to improve screen-reader navigation
  • Ensured that empty table headers on article pages are properly handled by screen-reading software
  • Improved labelling on search pages, so that screen-reading software can better identify form fields
  • All images within the multimedia gallery contain alt-text
  • When signing up for subject-related email alerts, all form fields are fully accessible to screen-reader users

General use:

  • Improved the navigation menu keyboard and mouse experience, removing the on-hover functionality and allowing menus to be closed when another menu is open

We will continue to update this page with details of further improvements as they are added to the site.

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