Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative

Ultimo, Sydney, Thursday 2 November, 2017



Representatives of the publishing industry, authors, libraries, copyright, disability associations, government and accessible format providers came together on 2 November for the second annual meeting of the Marrakesh Treaty Forum.

In order to encourage an expanded understanding of accessibility, the Marrakesh Treaty Forum participants have agreed to rename the group the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative.

The Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative will reconvene in a year’s time to report progress in making ‘inclusive by design’ a reality for Australian readers with a print disability.

The Initiative was established to identify the key challenges in making published material accessible to the print disabled and to identify the pathways to address those challenges. The aim of the Initiative is to increase access to published material for people living with print disabilities in Australia.

The purpose of the meeting was to assess progress on the projects developed as part of the first meeting in November 2016 and to set plans for the next 12 months.


The Marrakesh Treaty aims to increase the amount of material available to those with a print disability by facilitating access to published material within nations and across borders. The Marrakesh Treaty is concerned with the physical impairment in terms of vision as well as the motor capability of manipulating a book and the perceptual impairment of dyslexia.

Some estimates indicate as little as 5% of published books are available in accessible formats. Despite technological advances, and the now enacted sharing of accessible format titles across national boundaries, there is still a dearth of published material for the print disabled. The Initiative was brought together out of the collective realisation and shared purpose that the publishing industry, the print disability sector, and all the related and intermediary sectors need to work together in order to significantly progress accessibility for the print disabled in Australia.


The Initiative revisited the proposed outcomes from 2016 and agreed on six outcomes for 2022:

2017 desired outcomes for 2022

High community and business awareness of accessible content Seamless discoverability of accessible content Inclusion is the default standard, improving the experience for all Agreed set of accessibility standards which become the default for published materials Equitable and sustainable economic model in which authors, publishers and others in the supply chain receive the appropriate recompense Shared understanding and a common knowledge base, facilitated by a cross-sector group


The Initiative agreed to the following areas of focus:

  • build awareness of the need for accessibility
  • promote the market advantage of making works accessible and inclusive by design
  • increase discoverability of accessible material
  • understand and implement accessibility standards
  • define end-to-end responsibilities in the publishing supply chain, from author to consumer
  • build the social and economic business case for accessible publishing
  • build a peak body, based on the Forum, to progress accessibility
  • seek alternative funding grants from government and other sources

Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative Projects 2018

The Initiative agreed to the following projects and targets which draw from and extend three of the 2017 projects and add a further five projects for 2018. The projects initiated in 2017 are:

  • agree and adopt accessibility fields for both TitlePage and Trove which brings together previously separate metadata projects into one project to ensure matching metadata fields and coding (TitlePage and Trove Metadata Projects 2017)
  • finalise the implementation protocol guidelines and communicate them widely (Implementation Protocol Project 2017)
  • review publishing workflow practices and implement accessibility standards (Embedding Accessibility into the Publisher Workflow 2017)

The new projects initiated for 2018 are:

  • produce a single plain English guide to accessibility standards
  • conduct education on implementing accessibility standards for publishers
  • conduct a pilot project with 10 titles representing different types of publications in different formats using the accessibility standards and reviewed workflow
  • develop shared messaging on accessibility and inclusive publishing
  • identify alternative funding sources for accessibility projects

The Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative will reconvene in a year’s time to report progress in making ‘inclusive by design’ a reality for Australian readers with a print disability.

Appendix: 2016/2017 Goals and Projects

2016 outcomes for 2021

Increased community and business awareness 50% increased level of accessible content A global central metadata repository that integrates commercial and non-commercial titles Establish an equitable and sustainable economic model in which authors and publishers are paid Independent service-based conversion process Establish a formalised, cross-sector group that speaks with one voice and a shared knowledge base

Progress on Marrakesh Treaty Forum projects 2017 (renamed Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative)

Project Status 1 Economics of Accessibility

Research Project: Initiate a research project into an economically sustainable model for the proactive production of accessible format

Research questions scoped; researcher to be identified

2 Master File Standards Project:

Develop and disseminate an agreed standard of master file output for both text and image content

International standards are established. The challenge is implementation. See ‘Additional Project: Embedding Accessibility’ 3 TitlePage Meta Data Project: Expand

TitlePage accessible format metadata to support commercial availability

Ongoing communications with publishers regarding metadata and Onix codes 4 Implementation Protocol Project: Develop the protocols for the collaborative implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty

Draft protocols produced for final round of feedback

5 ‘Born Accessible’ Standards Project:

Develop ‘Born Accessible’ Australian standards and pitch those standards to the Accessible Book Consortium

See ‘Additional Project: Embedding Accessibility’

6 Business Models Project: Develop

optimal business models for the commercialisation of accessible format published material (and to support specific initiatives by providers such as Read How You Want)

RHYW has developed three possible business models for consideration

This 7 Trove Metadata Project: Develop a

can be achieved using metadata repository that brings

TitlePage for commercial titles and together information on both

Trove for non-commercial titles commercially and non-commercially available titles 8 Consultative Framework Project:

Develop a collaborative framework for the Forum and working groups to facilitate appropriate governance and communication.


Embedding Accessibility into the Publishing Workflow Project

Draft workflow and list of accessibility requirements produced

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