JSTOR is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for persons with disabilities. We apply WCAG and Section 508 standards to improve the user experience for everyone.

The latest JSTOR Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) (PDF) demonstrates compliance with both Section 508 and WCAG standards and guidelines. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) define requirements for designers and developers to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities at three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. The target for JSTOR is WCAG 2.1 Level AA.

Measures to support accessibility

The website is accessible to users with disabilities, including persons using a keyboard and those with visual and cognitive impairments.

Measures have been taken to ensure that you are able to:

  • Resize text, adjust text spacing, and change fonts by adjusting browser settings (for example, this can be done in the appearance settings in Chrome or in Firefox’s preferences).
  • Have sufficient color contrast on all areas of the site. You can change colors by adjusting the browser settings. Typically this can be done in the appearance settings, such as the font and color preferences in Firefox. There are also plug-ins that work with certain browsers, such as Change Colors on Google Chrome.
  • Navigate the website using just a keyboard and access all interactive elements.
  • Skip directly to main content and skip long lists of links.
  • Zoom in at least 200%. Text will reflow so it can be presented without loss of information or functionality.
  • Use the content in your desired orientation. Both landscape and portrait layouts will work responsively with the content.
  • Listen and use the website with a screen reader (ex. NVDA, VoiceOver, JAWS). All functionality within the JSTOR platform is accessible to these technologies.
  • Understand page hierarchy due to proper heading structure and the reading order being set correctly.
  • Utilize text-to-speech tools on the platform and with PDF content. There are many browser plug-in tools (such as Natural Reader for Chrome) that work on JSTOR. Some technology has text-to-speech software built into the device’s accessibility settings.
  • Access alternative text for images that are a part of the interface. Content contributed directly by JSTOR participating institutions and users (referred to as Community Collections) will display any supplied alternative text and descriptions of content.
  • Understand link destinations without surrounding context.

We regularly use automated checks and manual audits to evaluate and measure the accessibility of the site.

Content formats

Content is available as scanned images and as PDFs. A subset of the content is available in HTML format. JSTOR does not have any form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) on the content on the platform. You have the ability to copy and print content without such controls using the functionality on the JSTOR platform. Details on the scope of rights, use, copying, and printing is available on the JSTOR terms and conditions of use page. To open PDF files, you will need a PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (see Adobe’s Accessibility Conformance Report).

You have multiple reading options on the platform. Content can be read online by navigating through page scans, viewing the content in a full screen view window and zooming on any portion of the content. You can also download content in PDF format where your permissions provide the right to do so and view it using any features available in your preferred PDF viewer.

Image accessibility

All meaningful images that are part of the JSTOR interface have a text alternative. JSTOR includes high-resolution images for education and research. Many of the images are intended to create a specific sensory experience in a way that words cannot fully capture. These images are contributed to JSTOR by third parties, and the quality of the text alternatives will vary, depending on the contributing source. All images have informational text alternatives (usually a “title” and “creator” or “author”) which conveys descriptive information about the image. Some images have additional descriptive text (e.g. a “description” metadata field), however, we cannot guarantee that all images have been given descriptive alt text.

PDF accessibility

We have made every effort to ensure that our image-based PDF files are accessible and can be read with screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver. These files are tagged at a high level using an automated process. While this method is not exact, it significantly increases the accessibility of files as compared to an untagged version.

In the event that the PDF tagging described is not sufficient for your use, we can perform manual tagging for you. We are also happy to reformat PDFs that are unreadable via screen reader. If there are PDFs that don’t work with your screen reader or you have further questions about accessibility, please contact us. Please include citations for any requested articles. Turnaround time for requests will vary but we generally respond in 3 days or less.

  • Limit of 3 articles per request
  • Turnaround time is 3 days per request

Contact us

We have a single point of contact on our platform, which helps us to increase speed and turnaround time with support requests from all our users. Accessibility tickets are prioritized in this system and put to the top of our workflow.

Please contact us if you require PDF tagging, need content in an alternative format, find an accessibility issue with the website, or need general assistance. You can do this via phone, chat, or email (listed below).

Phone: (888) 388-3574
Email: support@jstor.org
Chat: JSTOR Support homepage
Twitter: @JSTORSupport
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM EDT

Last updated April 1st, 2021