Find answers to frequently asked questions regarding online licensing, media permissions, and copyright policies.
What is Oxford Journals copyright policy?
For the majority of journals published by Oxford University Press, we have a policy of acquiring a sole and exclusive license for all published content, rather than asking authors to transfer ownership of their copyright, which has been common practice in the past. We believe this policy more carefully balances the interests of our authors with our need to maintain the viability and reputation of the journals through which our authors are accorded status, recognition and widespread distribution. In developing this policy we have been guided by the following principles:
- As a university press and not-for-profit academic publisher, we rely heavily on the good relationships we have with our authors. Having a licensing policy which enables an author to be identified as the owner of the copyright in an article is one of the key ways of demonstrating how highly we value these relationships.
- An exclusive license enables the centralised and efficient management of permissions and licensing, ensuring the widest dissemination of the content through intermediaries;
- Exclusive rights also enable OUP to take measures on behalf of our authors against infringement, inappropriate use of an article, libel or plagiarism;
- At the same time, by maintaining exclusive rights, in all media for all published content, we can monitor and uphold the integrity of an article once refereed and accepted for publication to be maintained;
A small number of Oxford Journals still have a policy of requesting a full Assignment of Copyright. If unclear about the policy of the Journal concerned, please contact the Editorial office to clarify.
What do I do if I am a Government employee?
- If you are or were a UK Crown servant and the article has been written in that capacity, we have an arrangement with HMSO to enable us to publish it while acknowledging that it is Crown Copyright. Please inform the Editorial office or Oxford University Press at the time of acceptance or as soon as possible that the article is Crown Copyright, so that we can ensure the appropriate acknowledgement and copyright line are used, as required by our arrangement with HMSO.
- If you are a US Government employee and the article has been written in that capacity, we acknowledge that the confirmations and warranties we request applies only to the extent allowable by US law.
What rights do I retain as an Oxford Journal author?
- The right, after publication by Oxford Journals, to use all or part of the Article and abstract, for their own personal use, including their own classroom teaching purposes;
- The right, after publication by Oxford Journals, to use all or part of the Article and abstract, in the preparation of derivative works, extension of the article into book-length or in other works, provided that a full acknowledgement is made to the original publication in the journal;
- The right to include the article in full or in part in a thesis or dissertation, provided that this not published commercially;
For the uses specified here, please note that there is no need for you to apply for written permission from Oxford University Press in advance. Please go ahead with the use ensuring that a full acknowledgment is made to the original source of the material including the journal name, volume, issue, page numbers, year of publication, title of article and to Oxford University Press and/or the learned society.
The only exception to this is for the re-use of material for commercial purposes. Permission for this kind of re-use is required and can be obtained by using Rightslink:
With Copyright Clearance Center’s Rightslink ® service it’s faster and easier than ever before to secure permission from OUP titles to be republished in a coursepack, book, CD-ROM/DVD, brochure or pamphlet, journal or magazine, newsletter, newspaper, make a photocopy, or translate.
- Simply visit: academic.oup.com and locate your desired content.
- Click on (Order Permissions) within the table of contents and/ or at the bottom article’s abstract to open the following page:
- Select the way you would like to reuse the content
- Create an account or login to your existing account
- Accept the terms and conditions and permission is granted
For questions about using the Rightslink service, please contact Customer Support via phone 877/622-5543 (toll free) or 978/777-9929, or email Rightslink customer care.
What self-archiving policies do Oxford Journals operate?
It is not Oxford journal policy to allow the posting of the final published version of articles on third party websites. However, for the majority of our publications we do operate a range of self-archiving policies, which allow authors to make versions of their articles available through their own websites, the websites and repositories of their institutions or funding bodies, or on other subject based repositories. These polices are specific to each journal, but details of these polices and their terms and conditions can be found on the journals' homepage.
Oxford University Press Journals operate a range author self-archiving policies, allowing authors to make versions of their articles available through their own websites, the websites/repositories of their institutions or funding bodies, or on other subject based repositories.
Although the majority of OUP journals are covered by broadly similar policies, there may be some variation between journals, so we would recommend that you read the details of these polices and their terms and conditions on the journals' homepage.
What are author’s original versions and accepted manuscripts?
Author’s Original Version - The Author’s Original Version (also known as Pre-print) is defined here as the un-refereed author version of an article that is considered by the author to be of sufficient quality to be submitted for formal peer review by a second party.
Accepted Manuscript - The Accepted Manuscript (also known as Post-print) is defined here as the final draft author manuscript, as accepted for publication by a journal, including modifications based on referees’ suggestions, before it has undergone copyediting and proof correction.
What use of the authors original version of Oxford Journals articles is allowed?
For the majority of Oxford Journals, prior to acceptance for publication, authors retain the right to make an Author’s Original Version of your article available on your own personal website and/or that of your employer and/or in free public servers of preprints and/or articles in your subject area, provided that you acknowledge that the article has been accepted for publication as follows:
This article has been accepted for publication in [Journal Title] Published by Oxford University Press.
Once an article is accepted for publication, an author may not make the version of record available in this way or replace their original version with the accepted manuscript or version of record.
Please be aware that although the majority of Oxford University Press Journals do allow the use of the Author’s Original Version (pre-print), some of our society owned titles do not permit this form of use. For clarification of the Self-Archiving Policy for any journal, please refer to the Self-Archiving link on the journals homepage.
What use of the accepted manuscripts is allowed?
The Accepted Manuscript (AM) is the final draft author manuscript, as accepted for publication by a journal, including modifications based on referees’ suggestions, before it has undergone copyediting, typesetting and proof correction. This is sometimes referred to as the post-print version.
Immediately upon publication
- Authors may make their AM available on their non-commercial homepage or blog. They may also privately share their work within their institution for the purposes of research or education, and make copies available to colleagues or students for their personal use providing that the AM is not made publicly available until after the embargo period.
- Authors may also immediately upload their AM to their institutional or other non-commercial platforms (on the proviso that it is not made publicly available until after the specified embargo period)
- Authors may upload their AM to an institutional repository or other non-commercial repositories, and make it publicly available. Accepted Manuscripts may not be uploaded to commercial websites or repositories, unless the website or repository has signed a licensing agreement with OUP allowing posting. For this purpose repositories/social networking sites such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu are considered “commercial” platforms.
Embargo periods may vary between journals. For details of a journal’s specific embargo period, please see the information for each individual title (linked).}
When making an accepted manuscript available, authors should include the following acknowledgment as well as a link to the version of record. This will guarantee that the version of record is readily available to those accessing the article from public repositories, and means that the article is more likely to be cited correctly.
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in [insert journal title] following peer review. The version of record [insert complete citation information here] is available online at: xxxxxxx [insert URL and DOI of the article on the OUP website].
Will my article be deposited in any required repositories?
Please see here for details.
What additional rights are retained by the author when publishing under Oxford Open?
Please note that these rights only apply to content published in an Oxford Journal on an Open Access basis in exchange for payment of an author charge. For more details about how Oxford Open works please click here.
The right to reproduce, disseminate or display articles published under this model for non-commercial purposes, provided that:
- the original authorship is properly and fully attributed;
- the Journal and Oxford Journals are attributed as the original place of publication with the correct citation details given;
- if an article is subsequently reproduced or disseminated not in its entirety but only in part or as a derivative work this must be clearly indicated
- the right to deposit the post-print and/or URL or PDF of the finally published version of the article into an institutional or centrally organized repository, immediately upon publication
Am I allowed to make commercial use of Oxford Open articles?
Commercial Use of Oxford Open articles
For permission to make any kind of commercial use of material from the Open Access version of an Oxford Journal (ie.the online version), please contact the Rights and New Business Development Department: providing a brief description of the intended use.
Commercial re-use guidelines for open access content.
Definition of commercial use: any re-use of material from the Open Access part of an Oxford Journal for the commercial gain of the user and/or their employing institution. In particular,
- re-use by a non-author/third party/other publisher of parts of or all of an article or articles in another publication (journal or book) to be sold for commercial purposes. Permission to reproduce selected figures will generally be granted free of charge, although OUP reserves the right to levy a fee for the use of these and/or the full text of an article/articles
- the proactive supply of multiple print or electronic copies of items taken from the Journal to third parties on a systematic basis for marketing purposes. Permission for this kind of re-use should be obtained from the publisher, who retains the right to levy an appropriate fee
- re-use by an author of parts of or all of an article in other publications from commercial organizations. Permission for this kind of reuse should be obtained from the publisher. We would consider this to be commercial re-use but would not normally charge a permission fee if the author is involved.
NB: Please note that any income generated from permissions granted for this kind of use will be returned directly to the journal itself in order to help minimize the costs of making content from it available on an Open Access basis.
- All requests to re-use material published in an Oxford Journals title, whether in whole or in part, in another publication will be handled by Oxford Journals. Unless otherwise stated, any permission fees will be retained by the Journal concerned. Where possible, any requests to reproduce substantial parts of the article (including in other Oxford University Press publications) will be subject to your approval (which is deemed to be given if we have not heard from you within 4 weeks of the permission being granted).
- If copyright of the article is held by someone other than the Author, e.g. the Author's employer, Oxford Journals requires non-exclusive permission to administer any requests from third parties. Such requests will be handled in accordance with Notes 6 above.
- Oxford Journals publications are registered with the Copyright Licensing Agency (London) and the Copyright Clearance Center (Danvers, Massachusetts), and other Reproduction Rights Organizations. These are non-profit organizations which offer centralised licensing arrangements for photocopying on behalf of publishers such as Oxford University Press.
- Please forward requests to re-use all or part or your article, or to use figures contained within it, to the Rights and New Business Development Department.
What rights do I need to obtain?
When seeking permission to reproduce any kind of third party material in an Oxford Journal, please request the following:
- Non-exclusive rights to reproduce the material in the specified article and journal
- Print and electronic rights, preferably for use in any form or medium. If not possible to secure such broad-ranging rights, we do need the right to make the content available online (see below)
- the right to use the material for the life of the work (no time-restrictions such as one year etc on the licence granted)
- world-wide English-language rights. If rights for all languages can be secured, this is preferable
- The right to use images with a resolution of 150 dpi in the PDF version of the journal or 72 dpi in the HTML version
Why are these rights needed?
Oxford Journals publishes its journals both in print and online, making them available through a variety of methods of access. By online, we mean the simultaneous publication of the tables of contents, abstracts (where applicable) as well as the full text of the journal in PDF and HTML formats on the Web. The journals are used by individuals and institutions in the format of their choice (for institutions only): print and online; print only or online only. We also sell individual articles to end users either in print or online format, and need to keep an article intact for this purpose. In order for Oxford Journals to maintain consistency in the high quality and content of its journals (regardless of the users preferred format and method of delivery), we need to ensure that we secure ALL of the rights specified above.
When should I clear permissions?
You are obliged to clear all necessary permissions prior to publication. We advise that you should begin doing so as early as possible. Copies of each permission should be provided to the Editorial office.
What is covered by copyright?/Is it still in copyright?
Terms of copyright in literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works (whether published or not) depend on (i) when and where the work was first published; (ii) if and when the author has died; and (iii) the residence and nationality of the author. The rules are complicated, but the general rule is:
- Copyright expires 70 years after the end of the calendar year in which the author died
- If a work was unpublished (and this term has a broad meaning including public performance and broadcasting) at the date of the author’s death, then the period of copyright protection will be the longer of:
- a) 70 years after the end of the calendar year in which the author died; or
- b) 50 years after the end of the calendar year in which the work was first published (in the case of works first published before August 1, 1989) and 50 years from January 1, 1990 (in the case of works first published after August 1, 1989).
In the case of an unpublished document, you will need to seek permission from the owner of the document as well as the owner of any copyright in the document.
Typography right (new editions of existing works)
A new copyright may exist in a new edition of an existing work (typography right). If the new edition contains material alterations which suffice to make the totality of the new edition an original work, then the new edition will be a new copyright work. This is so whether or not the existing edition is in the public domain, but that copying must be done from the existing work and not from the new edition. If the existing work is still protected by copyright, then permission for use must be obtained from the rights owner. If the new edition is used and the old edition is still in copyright, permission must be obtained from the owner of the rights in the new edition and, if that owner does not also own the rights in the old edition, from the person who owns the rights in the old edition. Copyright on typography lasts for 25 years from publication.
Should I request permission?
Make sure you do not apply for permission when you do not actually need it! There is one important circumstance under which permission is not required, and you should consider carefully whether it applies in your case.
Fair use - Where copyright is in force, it is legal to quote brief extracts from books, articles, or musical works for the purposes of review or criticism, provided that the source is acknowledged, and this provision is believed to extend to electronic as well as to print publication. For music journals, please note that in this context ‘musical works’ is believed to include both scores and recordings. However you must note the following:
- ‘Brief’ is generally understood to mean no more than 5% of the work and, in any event, no more than is necessary for the criticism or review in question (note that individual items in collections, e.g. songs, count as works in their own right)
- You cannot include the materials just for illustration; the legality of the quotation depends on the presence of critical commentary on it or its use for critical commentary on another work.
If you have any queries about the fair use provisions, please seek more advice. Contact details are provided below.
These fair use provisions do not, however, apply to illustrations or figures in books, since each illustration or figure is treated as a separate copyright item. You will need to obtain permission to reproduce them from the publishers, or where they are credited to third parties from those third parties.
Postcards, lyrics, cartoons: if the ‘fair use’ provisions cannot be accurately applied, then permission is required from the copyright holder to reproduce this kind of material. These are classed as literary works, and they are likely to have at least one level of copyright protection. In the case of lyrics and/or any other material that may be of a particularly high profile, even if you think ‘fair use’ may apply, it is best to seek permission as there is often a qualitative value attached to it.
Charts and tables: If a table is taken directly from another publication it will of course need permission. The same is true of a copy or redrawing which incorporates only minor modifications: if permission would have been needed for the original figure, then it will also be needed for a copied or modified version.
However if you make substantive changes to a chart or table, you may effectively be creating a new copyright and you would not need to clear permission, although we would still recommend alerting the original authors as a courtesy. Unfortunately, there is no legal definition of what constitutes substantive changes, so if you are in any doubt about whether or not you have created a new work, we strongly recommend that you should seek permission anyway.
In all cases, original sources should be fully credited.
Screenshots from a website: Under certain circumstances, screenshots from a website can be used under ‘fair use’ without seeking permission. As yet there are no fixed rules about this, but the majority of web sites will contain some form of copyright or proprietary rights notice. The following may help you determine whether or not permission is required:
- in the text, refer to each image directly for criticism or review.
- don’t use more images than you really need
- avoid screenshots containing trademarks, pictures or text which may be themselves protected by copyright
- check any legal notices on the website relating to the use of screenshots
- don’t use screenshots comprising a large proportion of a single website
- avoid placing screenshots from different sources alongside each other so as to criticise one of them
If you are not sure, check with the editorial office.
Film and television stills: For further information on the use of images from films and television including stills, film clips, posters etc: please click here for a copy of our additional guidance.
I need permission, so what do I do?
You need to write to the copyright holder or owner of the rights in the material you want to reproduce:
Material from books/journals: The best contact in the first instance, is the publisher. Even if the author retained the rights to the material, it is likely that the publisher will handle permissions centrally. If not, they will be able to refer you to the appropriate place.
Photographs: the copyright in all photographs taken after August 1, 1989 will be owned by the photographer, unless there is an agreement to the contrary. For photographs taken between June 1, 1957 and August 1, 1989, the 1956 Copyright Act defined the author as the person who owned the material on which the photograph was taken. The date of the photograph being taken is therefore essential. The length of the period of copyright for photographs is that outlined above.
Images/illustrations from museums, art galleries: Bear in mind that some images carry more than one level of copyright, and you will need permission from each of the relevant copyright owners.
An example of this would be a photograph of a work of art: if the original work is still protected by copyright, you will of course need permission from the artist or their representative/estate. It’s very likely that, in addition to this, you will also need to clear permission to reproduce the photograph, since this carries its own distinct copyright.
As a result, we come across many cases where permission is needed to reproduce a photograph even though the subject of the photograph is itself no longer protected by copyright.
When requesting permission to reproduce the material, it is essential that you include details of all the rights we need. We have included sample text below. You will need to state at the top of your request the name of the journal, title of your article, and details of the images or other material you wish to reproduce.
'[insert name of journal] which is published by Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press [on behalf of X Society, a registered charity], is a scholarly journal with a limited print run. It is also published in an online version and maintained as an electronic archive after initial publication. Any material obtained under permission will be made available only within the context of the relevant article.
I am therefore seeking permission to reproduce the specified material in both the printed and the online versions of the journal, for distribution worldwide in all languages, for the life of the work. As a scholarly publication, I would ask you to consider reducing or waiving any fees in respect of this permission.
Full credit will be given to the original source. Unless you supply us with specific wording, we will follow our usual form of acknowledgement, as follows: ‘ Figure/table/illustration details. Reproduced/ [insert name of publication and full reference including year of first publication] with permission from [insert name of rights-holder]
Thank you for your help. I trust that you will be prepared to provide the necessary permissions without time limitation.'
Sometimes permission for ‘all languages’ is charged as an additional fee, and for certain journals it may not be necessary: if in doubt please check with the journal office.
To help you with the process, we have produced a Permission Request letter. If the letter is not provided alongside this document, a copy is available from the journal editorial office. Together with these guidelines and in particular, the wording provided above, we hope that the process of clearing these permissions will be straightforward.
For further details and a summary of the rights require when seeking permission to reproduce images in Oxford journals articles, please click here.
Best efforts: It is not enough to write off to the copyright owners and then assume that permission will be given in due course. By being the owner of the copyright, the rights-holder is able to prevent others from copying the work, so they are well within their rights to say no. Every effort should therefore be made to trace and then obtain the required rights from the copyright holder. By ‘best efforts’, we would normally expect that no more than three or four attempts be made to contact a rights-holder. If at this stage, there has been no success, please try and find an alternative piece of material to use. Should this not be possible, please inform the Editorial Office of the journal concerned about the problem you are experiencing, and a ‘case-by-case’ decision can be made about whether or not to proceed with inclusion of the material. Please note that when deciding to proceed with the inclusion of a copyrighted work without permission, there is always the possibility and associated risk that you may be infringing someone’s copyright. Oxford Journals is committed to ensuring that as much as possible of an author’s original choice of third party material (illustrations, images, figures, etc.) is included in their article. However, sometimes the only entirely safe course of action is not to use the material.
If you have difficulty tracing the rights holder
- a)search on the Internet, if not already done. Can often provide a lot of useful information
- b) contact one of the organizations listed below to see if they can help
- c) talk to the Editorial office of the journal concerned. They may be able to help.
If you identify the rights holder but they are slow to respond
Sometimes copyright holders may be slow to respond to permission requests. In those circumstances we would ask you to persist, perhaps trying an alternative email address or phone number from the institution's website, where available. Frequently, rights holders do grant permission once you get hold of the relevant person, although we do appreciate it can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating getting to that point.
It’s important to note that if we know (or believe we know) who holds the rights but they are slow to respond, this does not mean we can classify the material as an orphan work: that term is used for works which are still in copyright, but whose copyright owners cannot be found, even after diligent good faith search.
If you still cannot get them to respond
- a) consider the possibility of using an alternative piece of material
- b) very occasionally an author reaches a complete impasse, and in those circumstances you should contact the journal office so that we can consider each case individually, especially if an image is fundamental to an article
What to do when the copyright holder cannot be traced?
In the text Publishing Law, Hugh Jones and Christopher Beeson emphasize that if the copyright owner cannot be traced then authors/publishers have to accept the risk that going ahead may well infringe someone’s copyright. As mentioned above, the decision to do this should be made following communication with the Editorial Office and/or Oxford Journals.
There are some useful organizations to contact if you are unable to trace the copyright owner:
WATCH (Writers, Artists and their Copyright Holders): tyler.hrc.utexas.edu This is a database containing primarily the names and addresses of copyright holders or contact persons for authors and artists whose archives are housed in libraries in North America or the UK.
What should I do if there are restrictions or unacceptable terms?
What to do if there are restrictions or unacceptable terms
You are granted permission, but there are restrictions or terms and conditions attached, such as a time limit or fee, which you do not want to accept:
- a) go back and negotiate the terms/fee. Most rights holders are prepared to negotiate.
- b) if the rights holder is unwilling or unable to grant online rights, we can accept print permission alone, but the material would have to be blanked out in the online version of the journal. This is not ideal either for the article or the journal as a whole, but we can do this if necessary. In this case it is essential that you let the journal editorial office and the production office know which permissions have/have not been cleared, as early as possible.
- c) if you have been offered online rights for a limited period of time, go back and request permission for the life of the work. It can help to emphasise that the material will be used in a scholarly journal, and that it will only be used within the context of the relevant journal article. Some reassurance about how the images will be used might help them to accept unlimited use within the journal article, even if that is an exception to their usual terms. If you still cannot agree with the rights holder, we can blank the material out online, as in (b) above
- d) permission granted using a rights holder’s own form, or by email or letter/fax is fine, and you are not obliged to use the template letter we have provided. However, the wording does need to cover the rights we need: in
Other sources of information
The Publishers Association Permission Guidelines: Click on ‘PA Permissions Guidelines’ to download the PDF of this useful document.
Joint Permission Guidelines from the PA and the British Academy:
This useful document was also produced in 2008.
STM Permission Guidelines:
From 1 January 2009 both the Academic and Journals Division of Oxford University Press will be signatories to the STM Permission Guidelines introduced by the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers.
Any other queries:
- a) In the first instance, talk to the Editorial office of the journal concerned. The journal office will also be able to put you in touch with Oxford Journals’ permissions adviser, if necessary
- b) Alternatively, contact the Oxford Journals Commissioning Editor or Production Editor for the journal concerned
- c) Or, contact the Rights and New Business Development Department at Oxford Journals with details of your queries.