Global Certified Accessible (GCA) Program

Benetech’s GCA certification is the first-ever independent third-party digital accessibility certification program. Our goal is to help publishers build born accessible content that meets the needs of all readers. The program accomplishes this by helping adjust publisher workflows to ensure that content they produce is accessible from the start. Certified publishers receive a GCA seal and associated metadata they can include in EPUB files produced by their certified workflows. View a list of publishers across the globe who’ve already become certified accessible.

Standards and Guidelines

The Global Certified Accessible program is based on the following recognized standards and guidelines:

  • EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification (the “Baseline”)
  • World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA
  • Accessibility metadata to promote conformance and discoverability of certified accessible publications

The GCA Process

Benetech’s GCA team reviews a few publisher-provided EPUB files in depth, evaluating over one hundred accessibility features. We leverage tools like ACE by DAISY to check feature compliance and perform our own independent review of additional features. Each EPUB is given an overall accessibility score and receives a detailed summary of how it performed. If the file doesn’t meet GCA certification criteria, the publisher is asked to remediate the file and resubmit it for a second review. This process is repeated until a qualifying score is reached.

Once the title-by-title process is completed, the publisher is granted certification of the workflow reviewed and may auto-certify titles produced by that workflow for the next year. Benetech’s goal is to make accessibility certification a rich, collaborative experience so that publishers learn what steps must be taken either in practical techniques or workflow processes to make their files accessible.

Certification is granted annually and is renewable on an annual basis. It’s important that we maintain a high level of accessibility conformance for readers, so we may also conduct periodic quality spot checks on certified titles. Publishers receive quarterly updates from GCA on accessibility standards to stay in compliance. Certified publishers can use the GCA Certified Publisher seal in company accessibility statements or other related company-level spaces. They can also use the GCA seal on title-specific metadata and promotional materials to declare the title is certified accessible.

Associated Fees

Service Description Fee (based off complexity)*


Cost per publisher workflow

  • Simple: $2,400
  • Moderate: $6,000
  • Complex: $9,600

Annual Recertification

EPUB file check from certified publisher workflow

  • Simple: $1,800
  • Moderate: $5,000
  • Complex: $7,200

*Book complexity levels:

  • Simple: EPUBs with text and no design elements such as figures, tables, lists, video, or MathML
  • Moderate: EPUBs with small amount of design elements per page and/or simple JavaScript
  • Complex (or extra long files): EPUBs with large amount of design elements per page and/or complex JavaScript