University of Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 728-734
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1167
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin (BBB) declarations defined Open Access (OA) to scientific literature to be the removal of all of access barriers, allowing that research can be reinterpreted in new and/or wider contexts, both disciplinary and geographical. One way of implementing access is throught Institutional Repositories (IR). Institutional Repositories are online databases and a mirror of their institution, promoting both the institution and the researchers and bringing greater and wider visibility to the research developed. To fulfil the recommendations of the 3Bs, IRs must assure plain accessibility to its Web pages, including to those users that have some physical disability contributing in this way to a more inclusive society.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) works towards this inclusion, either for people with disabilities or older users. The W3C is an international consortium devoted to the development of Web standards and guidelines to ensure long-term growth for the Web.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are a set of principles to make content accessible to a wide range of people with disabilities and are written as a testable statement that do not depend on the technology used. It was published as a W3C Recommendation May 1999 and, although it is possible to use the previous version, WCAG 1.0, the W3C recommends that Web accessibility policies reference WCAG 2.0, as clearly stated on the W3C Website ( The WCAG is nowadays an international standard ISO/IEV International Standard (ISO/IEC 40 500:2012).

The Access Monitor index is a valuation unit used in all tests that synthesizes the final result and quantifies the level of accessibility achieved. The index is represented on a scale of 1 to 10, the value 10 representing a full adoption of good practice induced by the AccessMonitor. The index is an indicator that is intended for the exclusive use of website’s creators.

In Portugal, a central repository was created to collect all the scientific production of the Higher Education Institutions (HEI), RCAAP, which is a focal point for accessing their scientific resources. In 2015, using Access Monitor, avaliable on the FCT’s Web site, we checked for compliance the initial Web pages of the 32 HEI’s IRs in Portugal. We also found that none of the initial Web pages comply with the level ‘A’ of the WCAG2.0. We found other problems: e.g. the absence of text to substitute images, which is crucial for blind or visually impaired users. We could conclude that 78% of these pages are below the good practices regarding Web accessibility, whose indexes are below five on a scale of 10.

Our proposal is to apply the same tool to the homepages of 177 European institutional repositories listed in the Directory of Open Access Repositories with the following characteristics: Subject: Multidisciplinary; Platform: DSpace; English language.

The analysis carried out on a sample of the first 30 repositories of that list shows that the index varies between 3.7 and 5.9, revealing the predominance of values below the best practices in the field of web accessibility threshold. In fact, 73% of pages have rates below 5 and none of the sites meet the minimum requirements (level A) established by the guidelines of WCAG 2.0 standard.
Open access, Institutional Repositories, Web Acessibility, Disabled people.