Sharing expertise and information is essential to scientific advancement, but navigating intellectual property rights and protecting yourself from copyright infringement requires a good understanding of permissions requests.

At IWA Publishing, we receive a number of different permission requests for both books and journals; these can be from first time authors trying to find out if they can reuse their published paper in their thesis, or requests to reuse figures and tables from other people’s work.

If you’re ever in doubt about reusing material, it’s a good idea to contact the publisher of the work. At IWA Publishing, we have tried to keep our guidelines as simple as possible, but please do contact us directly for information on how to proceed with your specific request. You can contact me directly (mherbert [at] for permissions regarding material from journals. Please send any book-related requests to publications [at]


Reusing published material

If you would like to reuse published work, you must always ask permission from the copyright holder: if the copyright line is ©[Publisher], you must contact the Publisher; for © [Authors], you need to contact the corresponding author. If the paper is Open Access, you need to follow the permissions that each licence grants the user – you can find out more about types of Open Access in my colleague’s blog post, "What do I need to know about Open Access?", or on our Open Access page (

When requesting permission, either to reuse your own work or material from another author’s paper or book, you should include the following information in the request:

  • Your name.
  • Your institution name and address.
  • The title of the paper or book and what material you want to reuse. Be specific: page numbers, figure names and numbers will help make copyright checks as efficient as possible. For example, if you want to use part a) of figure 8 on page 48 of a book, make sure that you request this.
  • Information on use: What you want the permission for? Is it for your PhD dissertation, or for a book chapter you are currently writing? If it is for a book, make sure you provide the title and the publisher of the book.

The more information you provide, the faster and easier it is to process your permissions request. 


Sharing PDFs in repositories

Repositories, when copyright compliant, can be a great place for institutions to showcase work from their faculty. When it comes to repositories, it is always better to check directly with the publisher on terms of use and any embargo period. To avoid any copyright infringement, we advise the following: at no point should you be uploading the final published PDF version of the paper in a university repository or on a site like Researchgate. Following an embargo period (usually 12 months), authors can upload the accepted version (pre-publication Word document) of your paper to these sites, provided they attribute and link to the published version. It is also a good idea to upload a shareable PDF summary of your paper for promotional purposes.

If you are in any doubt about rights and permissions, or you want to make sure that you are copyright compliant, please do contact the publisher for advice on how to proceed.


For questions regarding permissions, or to request permission for material from journals, please contact me.

Michelle Herbert (mherbert [at]

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