What policies, standards and practices are desirable to ensure that software and publications in the sciences and associated disciplines are designed and created from the outset to be accessible to people with disabilities? Insight into this question can be obtained by considering the unique accessibility challenges that these materials pose, including complexities of notation, vocabulary, graphics, multimedia, and interaction.
Having analyzed what sets this problem apart from broader issues of accessibility, current trends in standards and policy are reviewed from a strategic perspective. These contemporary developments include the establishment of accessibility requirements for e-books and e-readers under the European Accessibility Act, the potential role of process-oriented accessibility standards such as ISO/IEC 30071-1:2019, and opportunities for enhancing the standards applicable to scientific materials via future revisions of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It shall be argued that attaining pervasive accessibility in scientific and technical fields requires an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration among educators, scientists, content and software producers, regulators, and people with disabilities.