Permissions

As a general rule, permission should be sought from the rights holder to reproduce any substantial part of a copyrighted work. This includes any text, illustrations, charts, tables, photographs, or other material from previously published sources. Obtaining permission to re-use content published by Elsevier is simple. Follow the guide below for a quick and easy route to permission.

Permission guidelines

Permission for content on ScienceDirect

Permissions for content not available on ScienceDirect

Help and support


Permission Guidelines

For further guidelines about obtaining permission, please review our Frequently Asked Questions below:

As a general rule, written permission must be obtained from the rightsholder in order to re-use any copyrighted material. Typically the rightsholder of published material is the publisher unless it is explicitly indicated otherwise. Copyrighted material can include figures, illustrations, charts, tables, photographs, and text excerpts. Re-use of any borrowed material must be properly acknowledged, even if it is determined that written permission is not necessary.

Elsevier publishes not only subscription content but also open access content available under a user license that determines how readers can re-use the content. We recommend readers check the license details found under the DOI and funding body information. 

For further guidance regarding when permission may and may not be necessary, please contact the Permissions Helpdesk.

Written permission may not need to be obtained in certain circumstances, such as the following:

  • Public domain works are not protected by copyright and may be reproduced without permission, subject to proper acknowledgement. This includes works for which copyright has expired (for example, any US work published prior to 1923), works that are not copyrightable by law (for example, works prepared by US government employees as part of their official duties), and works expressly released into the public domain by their creators. (Permission would however be required to re-use the final formatted, edited, published version of a public domain journal article, for example, as this version is owned by the publisher.)
  • Open access content published under a CC-BY user license, as well as open access content published under other types of user licenses depending on the nature of your proposed re-use (for example, commercial vs. nonprofit use), may not require written permission, subject to proper acknowledgement. Permissions vary depending on the license type, and we recommend that readers check the license details carefully before re-using the material.
  • Creating an original figure or table from data or factual information that was not previously in figure or table format typically does not require permission, subject to proper acknowledgement of the source(s) of the data.

Permission must be obtained from the rightsholder of the material. In most cases this will mean contacting the publisher of the material. The publisher typically has the exclusive right to grant the permission whether or not copyright is owned by the publisher. If the rightsholder requires that the credit line be in a specific format, this must be followed exactly, e.g.: 

Suitable acknowledgement to the source must be made, either as a footnote or in a reference list at the end of your publication, as follows:

"Reprinted from Publication title, Vol /edition number, Author(s), Title of article / title of
chapter, Pages No., Copyright (Year), with permission from Elsevier [OR APPLICABLE SOCIETY COPYRIGHT OWNER]."

Photographs or illustrations of fine art objects (sculptures, paintings, etc.) are frequently subject to copyright, and permission may need to be obtained from the holder of the reproduction rights in the photograph (usually the photographer, the publisher, or the museum that owns the object). Permission may need to be obtained from both the rightsholder of the art object itself (if still protected by copyright) as well as the photographer of the art object.

The Artists Rights Society in the US and its sister societies outside the US, including DACS in the UK and VG Bild-Kunst in Germany, represent the intellectual property rights of many well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol. For more information, please visit the website or the website of their umbrella organization, CISAC.

Probably. Most material on the Internet is protected by copyright whether or not a copyright notice is displayed. Some material posted on websites may not be original to the website itself and permission will therefore need to be requested from the rightsholder of the original source, once the rightsholder can be identified. If the material is original to the website, permission should be obtained directly from the website which will own copyright to the content on their site.

When requesting permission to re-use material in your forthcoming Elsevier journal article or book chapter, you may be able to use our permission request form which asks that the rightsholder grant to Elsevier the following rights: this and all subsequent editions, revisions, versions, derivative works, translations, ancillaries, adaptations, supplementary materials, and custom editions; all languages; all formats and media now known or hereafter developed; worldwide distribution in perpetuity.

We often cannot include material where these rights have been restricted. In these cases you will need to obtain alternate material. Please use original, unpublished figures, tables, and other content, or at minimum content that is original to Elsevier and its imprints, whenever possible.

Elsevier imprints include:

  • Academic Press
  • Amirsys
  • Baillière Tindall
  • Butterworth-Heinemann (US)
  • Cell Press
  • Chandos Publishing
  • Churchill Livingstone
  • CPM Resource Center
  • Digital Press
  • Elsevier BV/Inc/Ltd
  • Elsevier Current Trends
  • ExitCare
  • Grune & Stratton
  • Gulf Professional Publishing
  • Gulf Publishing Company
  • Hanley & Belfus
  • Knovel
  • Lancet
  • Masson
  • Medicine Publishing
  • Morgan Kaufmann
  • Mosby
  • Mosby-Wolfe
  • Newnes
  • North-Holland
  • Pergamon Press
  • Saunders
  • Syngress
  • Urban & Fischer Verlag
  • William Andrew
  • Woodhead Publishing
  • Wright of Bristol
  • Yearbook

Permission to reproduce material from another publisher in an Elsevier product can typically be obtained via Rightslink’s automated permission-granting service, which can be located on the individual journal article or book chapter page on the publisher’s website. Where Rightslink or other Copyright Clearance Center services are not available, we provide a Permission Request Form for Elsevier authors to use. For further instructions on how to complete the permission request form, please refer to this example.

Rightslink is the Copyright Clearance Center's automated permission-granting service, which is used by Elsevier along with many other STM publishers such as Wiley-Blackwell, Taylor & Francis, and Wolters Kluwer. With Rightslink, customers can request permission 24/7 for select content from the individual journal article or book chapter page on the publisher’s website. Please refer to the "Permissions for content on Science Direct" for further information about how Rightslink is are managed on Elsevier platforms. 

Where rights have reverted to an author or transferred to another publisher, it may be difficult to locate the correct rightsholder contact. However, you must make every effort to do so. You should keep records of all correspondence as proof of your attempts to obtain permission. It can never be assumed that a non-response authorizes you to use the material.

Works for which a prospective user is unable to identify, locate, and contact the copyright owner to obtain permission (as distinct from cases in which an identified rightsholder simply does not respond to your request) are known as "orphan works." A number of publishers including Elsevier have signed Safe Harbor provisions (agreed between STM, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, and the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers) notifying prospective users that, to the extent that those publishers own orphan works, users who comply with the guidelines in those provisions will be entitled to certain "safe harbor" protections.

Core requirements include:

  • Users of orphan works must show that they have made a reasonably diligent good faith search for the copyright owner;
  • The use must make clear and adequate attribution to the original work, author, publisher, and copyright holder, if possible and as appropriate under the circumstances; and
  • If a copyright owner is subsequently identified, the user must pay a reasonable royalty and not re-use the work unless agreed with the copyright holder.

Note: use of a disclaimer alone is not sufficient.

STM also maintains a list of STM publisher imprints you can use to help determine who the publisher of a particular imprint is. To try to locate an author's contact details, you can also contact organizations such as The Society of Authors, WATCH, the Authors' Registry, and the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society who may be able to provide assistance; search the Copyright Clearance Center's Rights Licensing Database; or contact the Permissions Helpdesk with any questions.

Appropriate consents, permissions and releases must be obtained where we wish to include case details or other personal information or images of patients or any other individuals in an Elsevier publication. Written consents must be retained by the author and copies of the consents or evidence that such consents have been obtained must be provided to Elsevier upon request and only upon request.

Particular care should be taken where children are concerned (in particular where a child has special needs or learning disabilities), where an individual's head or face appears, or where reference is made to an individual's name or other personal details. For more information please review Elsevier's policy on the use of images or personal information of patients or other individuals.

An RRO is a national organization licensed to handle certain types of permissions on behalf of publishers or other rights owners. RROs can provide you with permission in the form of a license to make copies of material in several formats such as printing, photocopying, scanning, digital copying, and electronic storage. Click here for further information.

If you want to make multiple photocopies of articles or chapters please contact the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) or the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) for a license subscription. Rightslink can also provide a license on an individual basis.

Yes, Elsevier is a signatory to the STM (International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers) Permissions Guidelines, last updated March 2015. The Guidelines encourage the granting of permission by one STM signatory publisher to another to re-use limited amounts of material from published works in subsequent publications. Permission will be granted by one signatory publisher to another free of charge to:

  • Use up to three figures (including tables) from a journal article or book chapter, but:
    • not more than five figures from a whole book or journal issue/edition;
    • not more than six figures from an annual journal volume;
    • not more than three figures from works published by a single publisher for an article;
    • not more than three figures from works published by a single publisher for a book chapter; and in total not more than thirty figures from a single publisher for republication in a book, including a multi-volume book.
  • Single text extracts of less than 400 words from a journal article or book chapter, but:
    • not more than a total of 800 words from a whole book or journal issue/edition.

Permission automatically includes re-use for electronic versions of the work as well as for subsequent editions and translations, except as outlined on the STM website. When granting permissions, STM publishers will not request a complimentary copy of the new work except in limited circumstances. For further information please visit the STM website or contact the Permissions Helpdesk.

Some STM signatory publishers, including Elsevier, do not require written notification for re-use of material that falls within these limits outline above by other STM signatory publishers, which means that permission is automatically granted subject to the borrowing publisher’s proper acknowledgement of the original source of the material. The following publishers also do not require written notification as of March 2015:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Ammons Scientific LTD
  • Anadem Publishing Inc.
  • Borm Bruckmeier Publishing
  • CABI
  • ChemTec Publishing
  • CSIRO Publishing
  • Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences
  • PMPH-USA, Ltd.
  • Portland Press
  • SAGE Publications
  • Science Reviews 2000 Ltd.
  • Scrub Hill Press Inc.
  • S. Hirzel Verlag (select titles only, see website for more information)
  • Taylor & Francis journals (select imprints only, see website for more information)
  • The Institution for Engineering and Technology (The IET)
  • World Health Organization

Academic researchers at subscribing institutions can text mine subscribed content on ScienceDirect for non-commercial purposes, via the ScienceDirect APIs. We have created a self-service developer's portal to enable researchers to easily gain access to the ScienceDirect APIs. For more information please see our text and data mining policy.

You are always able to share the preprint version, abstract or a link to your article. For authors who have published their article open access under a commercial license (CC BY) you can also post your final article. We recognize the importance of sharing research and have a wide range of ways you can share your article throughout the research publishing process, including posting to your institutional repository. You can find our sharing guidelines here

Elsevier is also working with commercial partners to enable further sharing options for researchers. We hope to have these available on sites such as ResearchGate in the near future. 

Yes, you can post your preprint, which is your own write up of your results and analysis, anywhere at any time. 

If you have posted your preprint on ArXiv, which is a non-commercial preprint server, you can also immediately update this version with your accepted manuscript. In all cases, posted manuscripts should link back to the final published article on ScienceDirect and should have a non-commercial user license attached (CC BY-NC-ND).


Obtaining permission to use content on ScienceDirect

If the content you wish to re-use is on ScienceDirect, you may request permission using the Copyright Clearance Center's Rightslink® service. This is a fast and easy way to secure permission to re-use material from Elsevier titles. Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Locate your desired content on ScienceDirect. Subscribers will be able to view all content and guest users can view open access content and abstracts for free simply by clicking on the article or chapter title.
  2. Determine if the content is open access or subscription access. If you are reading an Elsevier published article online, you need to look out for the "Open Access" orange label located under the article's title and author information. You will also be able to identify any relevant open access articles in your search results by looking for the same label. To find out how you can reuse an open access article, look underneath the title and click on the license hyperlink for exact details on the user license selected by the author. If your reuse is not covered by the user license, please proceed to the next step.
  3. Click on the 'Get rights and content' button located under the author details, adjacent to the DOI.
  4. The following page will then be launched (turn off your pop-up blocker):
  5. Select the way you would like to reuse the content.
  6. Create an account if you have not done so already.
  7. Accept the terms and conditions.

For questions about using the Rightslink service, please contact Customer Support via phone 877/622-5543 (toll free) or 978/777-9929, or email customercare@copyright.com.

Please note: When you create an account with Rightslink you will be asked to provide your credit card information. This does not necessarily mean that your request will be subject to a permissions fee; it is part of the registration process only. You can determine whether your request is subject to a fee by clicking on the "quick price" button after you have made your selection on how you wish to use the material.


Obtaining permission to use other content

If the content you wish to re-use is not on ScienceDirect, you may complete the online Permission Request Form. We aim to process routine requests within 10 working days of receipt. However, every effort will be made to meet more immediate deadlines if indicated.

Disability requests

If you require electronic files for a student with a disability, please complete the disability request form.


Help and support