Accessibility statement for White Rose Research Online

This is the accessibility statement for White Rose Research Online.

White Rose Research Online is operated by White Rose Libraries on behalf of the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. We want as many people as possible to be able to use White Rose Research Online. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We have also made the website text as simple as possible to understand, and provided help text where possible.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible White Rose Research Online is

We know some parts of White Rose Research Online are not fully accessible:

  • most older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • the Search pages do not have labels for some form elements
  • when logged-in, some of the deposit workflow form elements do not have labels

Using the WAVE Accessbility checker tool we are also aware of alerts that it raises which cannot be resolved:

  • empty listing of items displays "No Items" in the middle of the table that WAVE thinks should be a table caption. This is not appropriate and displaying a row with the text "No Items" makes it clear there are no items whereas no rows at all might make it look as though something has broken.
  • links to PDF documents. The purpose of this site is to hold this type of content.

Feedback and contact information

What to do if you cannot access parts of White Rose Research Online

If you need information on this website in a different format please contact us. We will consider your request and get back to you in 7 working days. You can contact us by email at:

Reporting accessibility problems with White Rose Research Online

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of White Rose Research Online. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we are not meeting accessibility requirements, please email: This will raise the issue with Kate Petherbridge (White Rose Libraries Executive Manager) and John Salter (White Rose Libraries Technical Lead) who are responsible for dealing with these reports.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the 'accessibility regulations'). If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Technical information about White Rose Research Online’s accessibility

White Rose Libraries is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

This website is not compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard. The non-compliances and exemptions are listed below.

Non compliance with the accessibility regulations

We are in the process of compiling a report of sample pages and issues with their accessibility. The Accessibility Report will be updated as issues are discovered and resolved.

Disproportionate burden

White Rose Research Online is a repository that contains user-provided content in a variety of formats. Much of the new content will be compliant with accessibility regulations, but some new content (and a large proportion of the older content that is not within scope of the accessibility regulations) will not be. Identifying all non-compliant user-provided content and making it compliant is a disproportionate burden at this time, as the focus on this would prevent us delivering the wider repository service effectively. We will continue to review if evolving solutions make this possible. We will also provide a statement explaining that user-provided content may not comply with accessibility regulations, and how to request accessible versions.

Content that is not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

PDFs and other documents

As White Rose Research Online is an open access research repository, the principal content made available to users are user-provided research outputs such as articles, papers and reports, many of which are PDF documents. Many PDF documents, especially older ones, are not fully accessible to screen reader software and do not contain other common accessibility features. In particular:

  • many documents, especially older ones, do not conform to the PDF/A archiving format.
  • many lack bookmarks or document titles, therefore failing to meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria 2.4.5 and 2.4.2.
  • many discuss scientific or scholarly concepts which may be abbreviated with no mechanism for discovering the meaning of the abbreviations, or unusual words arising from scholarly discourse without definitions. These issues each fail WCAG 2.1 criteria 3.1.4 and 3.1.1 respectively.
  • there may be some documents that fail to specify their human language, thereby failing WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.1.1.
  • many documents may not reflow satisfactorily. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.10.

The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents placed in White Rose Research Online's archive before 23 September 2019 as these items are considered "archives".

PDFs and other documents added after 23 September 2019 are user provided and therefore may not be fully accessible. White Rose Research Online identifies this possibility in making content available for download.

General issues

The White Rose Research Online website itself demonstrates good levels of accessibility. However, the following issues have been identified and are in the process of being addressed:

  • Headings on some of our pages do not appear in a logical order. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.10.
  • Some of the forms and interactive search pages on Accessibility Test are not appropriately labelled or do not have labels. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.3.2.
  • Interactive elements of Accessibility Test (such as search) do not utilise status messages to update screen readers of a change in state. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.2.2

How we tested White Rose Research Online

White Rose Research Online was last tested in Summer 2020. The accessibility report is being compiled and will be available in October 2020.

White Rose Research Online is currently running on a legacy version of EPrints. No comprehensive report is available for version 3.3.10. Our testing produced a number of alerts that are considered acceptable and/or essential for the functioning of EPrints as on Open Access repository as the fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Links to PDF documents.
  2. Duplications in the test or third-party data leading to alerts about shared alternative texts for nearby images.
  3. Reports of suspicious link texts that is not suspicious within the context of where they appear.
  4. Apparent missing table captions due to a feature in EPrints to make clear a table has no items rather than leaving it blank that might lead to an assumption that something is broken.

Miscellaneous pages like those for OAI metadata harvesting have been tested and found to have issues with tables being reported as being used for layout when they are used as tables, and as these pages are not generally intended for human use, it is not intended to do anything further to address this.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We continue to review the accessibility of White Rose Research Online, both the website itself and the user-provided content hosted there. We are moving to newer versions of the supported software, which will increase accessibility, and reviewing with the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York how make the user-provided content more accessible.

This statement was first prepared on 19 Sept 2020. It was last updated on 22 Sept 2020.