Creating Accessible Research & Scholarly Works

As content creators, it is important to understand accessibility guidelines apply whether you are creating an Adobe PDF document or web page. Below is a sample overview of general guidelines for creating accessible research & scholarly works:

General Accessibility Guidelines

The University has guidelines on making content accessible. You can view the detailed information about the guidelines on the Creating Accessible Web Content page. Here is a brief overview of the basic components to making content accessible:

  • Use correct heading structure
  • Add alternative text to all images, including charts and graphs
  • Include appropriate language tags for the document
  • User proper color contrast
  • Do not use color as the sole means of conveying information
  • Use descriptive link text and avoid generic titles, such as "Click Here"
  • Use synchronized captions on videos

To assist in your efforts to create accessible documents, the Research & Scholarly Works subcommittee has developed the following two strategies:

Research and Scholarly Works Content Guidelines

What Constitutes Research and Scholarly Works for Accessibility Compliance?

Research and Scholarly Works (including Creative Works) covers two broad areas.

First, Research and Scholarly Works covers the scholarly output of faculty. This includes traditional forms of publication such as any content published by the University or made available through University servers or systems, including but not limited to journal articles, books, and book chapters, as well as creative endeavors. It also includes grey literature such as posters, paper presentations, and technical reports. Additionally, this may include newer forms of scholarship such as a research based blogs, podcasts, datasets, or applications developed by faculty for scholarly purposes.

Second, it includes all of the tools that support the research, scholarship, and creativity of faculty and students. For example, statistical software would fall into this area.

Library databases do not fall into this category.

What is included in Research and Scholarly Works?Anything you make publicly available as a researcher must be made accessible according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines [WCAG] 2.0 Level AA. For more information or help with guidelines for departmental webpages, see "Creating Accessible Web Content."

Examples of content that must be accessible in the Research/Graduate areas include, but are not limited to:

• Theses and Dissertations
• Scholarly and technical articles, reports, posters, and presentations, including grant related materials
• Data files (PDF, audio, video, images, software-specific data sets)
• University publications such as scholarly and technical journals (e.g. Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal)
• Research related tools, software, and notes
• Expository or lecture notes
• University developed software tools (open source, freeware... etc.)
• Lab websites with research output
• Creative online content (visual, aural, mixed media)

What to do with non-accessible but critical content:

In very rare circumstances, you may believe you have content that is critical to be made available but that cannot be made accessible. If you think this describes your situation, you can submit your content and case to the Research and Scholarly Works Subcommittee for further review and action. Please email the committee with the content, who needs to access the content, and why it is necessary at