Journals Library

Step by step guide to obtaining permissions

  1. Decide if it is necessary to include the copyright material: Obtaining permissions can be a lengthy and expensive process so you should ensure that you are only including material that is necessary.
  2. Apply early: Apply for permission as soon as you decide to include material that has been previously published, usually when you are preparing your final report. Failure to apply at this early stage is likely to delay the publication of your report.
  3. Never assume material is copyright-free: even if material is posted on the Internet or is widely known and discussed, this does not normally mean that it is not in copyright.
  4. Have all source material details to hand: ensure that you have ISBNs,  and page and figure numbers for the source material when applying for permission.
  5. Find the relevant publisher: If you have the journal in which the original material was published then you can contact the relevant journal to find this out. Alternatively, use MEDLINE (at the National Library of Medicine websiteLink open in a new window) or other journals database to locate the journal website. If your institution subscribes to UlrichsLink open in a new window, this can also be used to locate contact details of journal publishers.
  6. Contact the publisher: Send an email following the example below:  

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Hutchinson ML, Zahniser DJ, Sherman ME, et al.Utility of liquid-based cytology for cervical carcinoma screening: results of a population-based study conducted in a region of Costa Rica with a
    high incidence of cervical carcinoma. Cancer 1999; 87:48–55.
    I am writing to request permission to reproduce Table 1 from the above reference. The table will appear in a report in the journal Health Technology Assessment. This report will also be available online. We therefore request permission to use the material in this and all subsequent editions of the work, all derivative works, in any and all media, in English language. I attach a scanned copy of the relevant page from the original article for your convenience.

    Email a scanned copy of the title page and the page containing the relevant material. If you are adapting the table/figure, send a copy of this as well and alter the covering email accordingly.
  7. Ensure that full usage rights are granted: You will need to obtain permissions for full usage rights, that are not limited to a specific form of media or length of time. Often publishers will reply with permission for limited rights. If this happens you should contact them again immediately, particularly for electronic rights, stating that the work will also be published on the NIHR Journals Library website. Please note, it is acceptable to obtain permission for English language only, however, further permission will need to be sought should you wish to translate your report into another language.
  8. Use the appropriate credit line: The publisher may insist on a specific credit line, for example the full reference details plus the publisher’s details. This should be provided to your programme, along with the proof of permission, when you submit your final report.
    If a specific credit line is not specified, or permission is not required, the following credit lines can be used as appropriate:
    Reproduced with permission from Smith et al.49
    Adapted with permission from Smith et al.49
    Adapted from Smith et al.49
    Data from Smith et al.49

For further guidance please email the editorial office: