ScienceDirect Accessibility Features
Enabling people with disabilities to access content quickly and easily
We demonstrate our commitment to web accessibility by enabling access and optimizing the experience for individuals with disabilities and impairments, including auditory, cognitive, physical, speech and visual disabilities.
ScienceDirect aspires to meet all guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and the U.S. Section 508 Standards of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, as well as similar standards enacted by countries around the globe.
For a detailed review of how ScienceDirect supports of each of the WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 criteria, please refer to our Voluntary Product Assessment Template (VPAT) document. This document was produced by our internal accessibility team and last updated during a site wide audit conducted between February and April 2019.
Accessibility Support & Feedback
- Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to report any accessibility issues with ScienceDirect, or if you have any questions or feedback related to the accessibility of our platform. Our dedicated accessibility team will get back to you within 2 working days.
- If you require electronic files for a student or staff member with a disability, you may use the AccessText Network or the Elsevier Disability Request Form to request a file. Most requests are fulfilled same day.
- For general Customer Service support for ScienceDirect, please complete the HTML Contact Us form.
Accessibility and usability features
Summary of ScienceDirect Accessibility Features
Controls and features are operable using keyboard only
Pages include a visible Skip Navigation link to skip repetitive elements
Pages are responsive, and content reflows well up to 400% zoom
Users can jump directly to a main section in a journal article or book using the outline panel to the left of the article and book chapter pages
Content is available in HTML and PDF which can be read using assistive technology such as JAWS screen reader
Math equations are available in MathML
Pages employ ARIA (Accessibility for Rich Internet Applications) to enhance navigation, orientation and labelling for users of screen readers and other assistive technology
All graphical elements and color-coded items have meaningful text equivalents
Forms are marked using labels that are read correctly by screen readers and allow for easier manual selection
Error messages are clearly identified using headings and iconography
Pages are uniquely and descriptively titled
Global navigation links are consistent across pages and enable users to quickly and easily understand the layout of the site
Tutorials are available in HTML text in addition to captioned videos.
Journal articles include Highlights which summarize main points
Most content on ScienceDirect is available in both HTML and PDF format. We recommend our HTML format as the most accessible version.
How to access on ScienceDirect
Displayed on the article / chapter page where available.
The HTML format for journal articles and book chapters is the most compatible with screen readers such as JAWS and VoiceOver.
Access by clicking on “Download PDF”, which opens the Enhanced Reader view, then click “Save” to download the PDF.
PDFs are not currently tagged. To maximize screen reader compatibility, use the Add Tags to Document feature in Adobe Acrobat Pro. Contact email@example.com for support.
Access by clicking on “Download PDF” from the article or chapter page.
Assistive technology users are advised to refer to the HMTL version instead, or the PDF if no HTML is available.
Online-only reading view.
Other accessible formats available from Elsevier:
EPUB versions are available for some books via the Elsevier Bookstore. Buy once and download (PDF, EPUB3 and Mobi).
EPUB3 books provide a portable reading experience with flexible text display, reflowable layout, and screen reader compatibility.
Visit the Elsevier bookstore at https://www.elsevier.com/catalog?producttype=books.
VST Bookshelf app has numerous accessibility features built in.
Word files may be requested by using the Elsevier Disability Request Form to request a file.
- User interface images have alternative text descriptions to convey the meaning of an image to screen readers.
- Inline content figures are accompanied by a text caption and in some cases meaningful descriptive text in the adjacent body text.
- Pages are well structured using headings, landmarks and lists which allow users of assistive technology to easily jump around pages.
- Global navigation links are consistent across pages and enable users to quickly and easily understand the layout of the site.
- Links are named appropriately and include meaningful information about the purpose of the link.
- Pages have unique and descriptive page titles which help with orientation, tabbed browsing and bookmarking.
- Pages provide logical tab order.
- Pages include a visible skip navigation link to skip repetitive elements.
- Interactive elements provide an obvious visible focus state.
- Keyboard-only users can jump directly to a main section in a journal article or book by using the left-side table of contents.
- Controls and features are operable using keyboard only.
- When opening dialog windows and panes, the system places the focus in logical places.
- Magnification: Users can enlarge pages and text with either browser controls or screen magnification software such as GW Micro’s Windows-Eyes, or ZoomText.
- Reflow: Content can be viewed in either HTML or PDF. The PDF does not reflow but the HTML version does. Content can be zoomed up to 400% with reflow and without causing horizontal scrolling.
- Pages use separate cascading style sheets (CSS), allowing users to more easily customize the display and contrast.
- Pages are usable when style sheets are disabled.
Colors and Contrast
- Color contrast ratio is at least 4.5:1 (e.g. dark grey text on white background, and blue links on white background).
- Links are identified using color but also use an obvious visual hover and focus state – a color change and either a border or underline.
- Error messages utilize an icon in addition to red color and an alert role to denote the error state.
- Disabled links are shown in gray but also coded with aria-disabled or disabled.
Screen Reader Friendly
- HTML journal articles and book chapters are compatible with screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA and Apple’s VoiceOver.
- Math content is displayed in MathML, which can be spoken by text-to-speech engines, magnified, converted to Braille, and pasted into math equation editors or Microsoft Office documents.
- Article and chapter experimental data are presented in HTML tables with appropriate header markup.
- Pages employ ARIA (Accessibility for Rich Internet Applications) to enhance navigation, orientation and labeling for users of screen readers and other assistive technology.
- PDFs with searchable text are available.
Copying & Printing
- There are some limits on the amount of Elsevier content that can be copied or printed. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.
- If copying/printing/re-use of the content is not permitted under our Terms & Conditions you may request permission using the Copyright Clearance Center's Rightslink® service or by contacting Elsevier's Global Rights Department at Permissions@elsevier.com.
- Elsevier also supports responsible sharing.
Accessibility at Elsevier
Since 2011, Elsevier has led an accessibility and usability collaboration with several university leaders in assistive technology and web accessibility. Our collaboration group meets twice a month to apply accessibility best practices to ScienceDirect features to improve the overall usability and accessibility for all users, regardless of disability. Seven universities currently participate: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of California, Berkeley; University of Texas; San Francisco State University; Indiana University; and Michigan State University. The results of the working group and the lessons learned have been featured at CSUN, the International Conference on Assistive Technology and Persons with Disabilities. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join the accessibility collaboration.
Other accessibility initiatives
- Read more about Elsevier’s Accessibility Policy
- Read more about RELX Group’s Accessibility Policy
- In 2010, Elsevier was awarded the first ever Jisc TechDis award to highlight publishers that improve their business processes to make resources more accessible to people with disabilities
- In 2016, Elsevier was awarded the Accessible Books Consortium Award for Accessible Publishing.
- Elsevier shared the story of best practices in a journal special issue of Learned Publishing: The ScienceDirect accessibility journey: A case study.
- ScienceDirect collaborated with the Big 10 Academic Library Alliance on the Library E-Resource testing.
- ScienceDirect won a bronze Aspire badge in January 2019 for providing a clear and detailed accessibility page with information on e-book features and support.
Last updated date (June 27th 2019)