Practical Tips

New Permissions Helpdesk is now Live

Supporting editors, authors and support staff with the permission seeking process

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Permissions - what material can be re-used where, by whom, in what format, and under what circumstances - is an area of publishing that has become more complex if not confusing in recent years.

Elsevier regularly re-uses content owned by third parties including publishers, authors, illustrators, and institutions. The legal risks involved with not obtaining permission, or not obtaining the proper permission for the full extent of rights required, can be substantial, especially in an electronic environment where the re-use of copyrighted material can easily be tracked.

Elsevier is dedicated to protecting our intellectual property, which includes copyright, as the foundation of our business. If we fail to follow the necessary procedures to acknowledge other publishers’ and authors’ rights, Elsevier’s integrity as a defender of our own rights will be threatened. Similarly, failing to obtain the full extent of rights that we need can jeopardize the integrity of our products in other ways, for example by forcing us to ‘black out’ the online version of images for which we were only able to obtain permission for the print version, thereby detracting from the professional appearance and usability of the online product.

With these concerns in mind, Elsevier has created a Permissions Helpdesk to support editors, authors, freelancers, and support staff with the permission seeking process. Based in our Philadelphia office and staffed by Hop Wechsler and Laura Stingelin, the Helpdesk will respond in a timely and constructive manner to fundamental and frequently asked questions such as: What rights do I need to request from another publisher? What can I do if my permission request is denied? How can I obtain contact information for an out-of-print title? Do I need permission to re-use my own work?

Since its launch in April this year, the Permissions Helpdesk has:

  • Referred requestors to third party publishers, to Rightslink®, and to our own permissions granting team in Oxford to obtain permission;
  • offered recommendations on stock image (e.g. Clip Art, Fotolia) and open-source software license terms;
  • advised as to whether adapted or redrawn figures require permission;
  • explained that in certain cases no formal permission is needed to re-use limited content from other STM signatory publishers; and
  • reviewed permission letters from other publishers to determine whether all required rights were granted to Elsevier.

Please encourage your fellow editors, authors, and support staff to contact the Permissions Helpdesk at +1-800-523-4069 x 3808 or with any permissions questions. Questions about the permissions process may be unavoidable, but confusion about the permissions process need not be. We look forward to hearing from you!

Archived comments


Felipe O Torre MD says: June 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm
Is it ok to use portion of the author’s dedication from one of your book products for personal use? Please reply. Thank you very much.

Felipe O Torre says: June 18, 2014 at 9:20 pm
Is it ok to use a portion of the author’s personal dedication from one of your books in a solemn speech? Please reply to my email. Thank you very much.

Hop Wechsler says:  June 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm
Can you please provide more information regarding both the specific Elsevier book and whether your speech will be formally published or merely delivered orally? Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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