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.

Help and support

Permissions for content not available on ScienceDirect

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.

Permissions for content on ScienceDirect

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.

Permission guidelines

Permission seeking guidelines

To start, we recommend that you check the content platform you are using as the majority of our journals and Science & Technology books, along with many of our Health Sciences books, are available online on ScienceDirect, enabling you to gain instant permission via Rightslink. However, we also have content available on other platforms, such as Health Advance where you can gain permission through our Permission Request Form.

For further guidelines about obtaining permission see our frequently asked questions below:

When is permission required?

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 used. Whether or not the material that is being reproduced is a "substantial part" is a subjective test that depends on both the significance of the material and the quantity of material used. Please note as well that sources of all data must be credited, whether or not permission is required. 

Elsevier also publishes open access content which has an attached user license which determines how readers can reuse the content. We recommend readers check the license details found under the DOI and funding body information. 

For further guidance, please contact the Permissions Helpdesk.

When is permission not required?

When the material is not subject to copyright protection.

  • Copyright protects only original (i.e. creative) material. (Note: the threshold for creativity is low; when in doubt material is likely protected by copyright.) As such it protects only the particular form of expression of a work, and not the ideas or facts contained in it. So, for example, a fact in an individual article would not be protected, although if it were arranged in a table in a particularly unusual way, the table would be protected.

"Fair Use"/"Fair Dealing"

  • This includes copying on a limited basis for purposes such as education and research, known as "fair use" in the US or "fair dealing" in the UK.
  • Fair use analysis involves a number of factors such as the purpose and character of the use, the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. It is unclear in most cases whether a proposed use falls under fair use; prior to relying on fair use rather than obtaining permission, please contact the Permissions Helpdesk.

Public Domain

  • Public domain works are not protected by copyright and may be reproduced without permission. This includes all materials for which the copyright term has expired (e.g. any work published prior to 1923) or where the copyright owners have expressly released the materials into the public domain, along with work prepared by officers or employees of the US government as part of their official duties.
  • Permission would however be required to re-use the final formatted, edited, published version of the work in certain cases, as it is owned by the publisher.

Open access content

  • Open access content is published with a user license which determines how readers can reuse the content without the need to request permission. Permissions vary depending on the chosen license and we recommend that readers check the license details carefully before reusing the materials.

From whom do I need permission?

Permission must be sought from the copyright owner and/or rightsholder. In most cases this will mean contacting the publisher of the original work. The publisher usually 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.:
Print the required copyright credit line on the first page on which the material appears: 

"Reprinted from Wear, Vol. 139, W.S. Moon and Y. Kimura, Wear-preventing property of used gasoline oils, pp. 351-365. Copyright 1990, with permission from Elsevier." 

Such notice must be visible any time a user accesses any part of the material and must appear on any printed copies an authorized user might make.

How do I obtain permission to use photographs or illustrations?

The publisher will not always own reproduction rights to photographs or illustrations; rather, such rights may have been retained by the illustrator or photographer. If the source from which the material is borrowed does not indicate who owns reproduction rights, the publisher's response to a request for permission will often indicate who does.

Photographs or illustrations of fine art objects (sculpture, painting, decorative art, antiquities, etc.) may be 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 which owns the object).

Do I need to obtain permission to use material posted on a website?

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 copyright owner or rightsholder of the original source. 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.

What rights does Elsevier require when requesting permission?

When requesting permission for use of material in an Elsevier product, you should request 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 such 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 or 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
  • MEDai
  • Medicine Publishing
  • Morgan Kaufmann
  • Mosby
  • Mosby-Wolfe
  • Newnes
  • North-Holland
  • Pergamon Press
  • Saunders
  • Syngress
  • Urban & Fischer Verlag
  • William Andrew
  • Woodhead Publishing
  • Yearbook

How do I obtain permission from another publisher?

Normally permission to reproduce material from another publisher in an Elsevier product is best obtained via Rightslink. Where Rightslink is not available, we provide a Permission Request Form. For further instructions on how to complete the permission request form, please refer to this example.

What is Rightslink?

Rightslink is the Copyright Clearance Center's automated permissions granting service, which is used by Elsevier along with many other STM publishers such as Wiley Blackwell, Taylor & Francis, and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. With Rightslink, customers can request permission 24/7 for select content from the point of access, in most cases the individual journal article or book chapter on the rightsholder's website. 

Please refer to the ScienceDirect and other content tabs for further information about how Rightslink and permissions are managed on our platforms. 

What should I do if I am not able to locate the copyright owner?

Where rights have reverted to an author or transferred to another publisher, it may be difficult to locate the correct copyright owner or rightsholder. 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 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.

What is Elsevier's policy on using patient photographs?

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.

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.

Can I obtain permission from a Reproduction Rights Organization (RRO)?

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.

Is Elsevier an STM signatory publisher?

Yes, Elsevier is a signatory to the STM (International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers) Permissions Guidelines, last updated February 2012. 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 for use of: 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 query the Permissions Helpdesk.

Do I need to request permission to re-use work from another STM publisher?

STM gave publishers the option of opting out of receiving formal permission requests provided the re-use fell within the above parameters. Elsevier is one of the publishers who agreed to opt out (with exceptions for particular material). The following publishers also agreed to opt out of requiring formal permission for such re-use:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Ammons Scientific Ltd.
  • Borm Bruckmeier Publishing
  • CABI
  • ChemTec Publishing
  • CSIRO Publishing
  • Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (journals only)
  • Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences
  • Nature Publishing Group
  • PMPH-USA, Ltd.
  • Portland Press
  • SAGE Publications
  • Science Reviews 2000 Ltd.
  • Scrub Hill Press Inc.
  • Taylor & Francis (journals only)
  • The Institution of Engineering and Technology (The IET)
  • World Health Organization
(Updated July 2014)

This means that if you will be re-using material that falls within the parameters outlined above (e.g. no more than five figures from a whole book), you do not need to request formal permission. Please however remember the following:

  • Check credit lines carefully to ensure the figure/table is not credited to another source, as you may need to seek permission from that source.
  • Always fully credit the original source.
  • The opt-out does not extend to anatomical drawings, cartoons, maps, works of art, and creative photographs, among other items.

Do I need to request permission to text mine Elsevier content?

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.