FAQ: Reusing Third Party Material in New IOP Content

What copyright form should I fill in?

Each journal has a specific copyright form that authors must sign before an article can be accepted. This will be made available to you by the journal team after article submission.

Can I reuse subscription content in my article if it is going to be published Open Access?

You will need to request permission because subscription articles are generally fully protected by copyright. When seeking permission, you should make it clear that the article will be published under the gold open access model (under the CC BY licence). If permission is granted, take care to include a © notice in the figure caption or adjacent to the content (in the form requested by the copyright owner in their permission). This ensures that it is clear to readers of the article that the figure/content is not included in the gold open access CC BY licence.

How do I request permission from third parties?

Information on how to request permission can usually be found on the website of each publisher. You may be able to gain the permission of the publisher via the ‘CCC Republication Service’ (many publishers now use this service, most having a direct link to this service from the article you wish to use content from). Otherwise you should contact the publisher directly. Depending on the publisher’s policy, you may also need the permission of the author. See this page for further information.

Do I still need to obtain permission to reuse content if…?

  • The content is very old? Copyright lasts until 70 years after the author’s death (or the last remaining co-author if more than one person created the content). Therefore, content is protected by copyright for a substantial amount of time. Permission is required if the content is protected by copyright.
  • I found it online? Free to view is not the same as free to reuse. Somebody created it, so it will be protected by copyright in most cases. Permission should always be requested from the copyright owner of any figure or photograph taken from the internet before it is used elsewhere (this might be the website owner or someone else if it is user-generated content posted by a user of the website). You should supply full details of the planned reuse when sending your request to the copyright owner. The only exceptions are works in the public domain, and content explicitly made available under a licence allowing for commercial reuse.
  • I redrew/adapted the content? Copyright protects against copying. Unless it is so different it is unrecognisable, you do need permission for adapting a figure.
  • I was the original creator of the published content? If it has already been published in a previous paper by a different publisher, that publisher probably owns the copyright and so you will need permission from them (unless that publisher’s author rights policy allows authors to reuse their own content).
  • It has not been published before? If the figure(s) are unpublished, the copyright is likely to be owned by the person who created them, whose permission will be required. If you created the figure(s) which have not been published before, and did not create them as part of your employment, then you should not need permission. However, you need to check the terms of any contract you may have with any third party relating to the creation of any works which include the figure.
  • It is properly referenced? Properly referencing the reused content ensures you are not plagiarising it, however it does not affect the need to obtain permission. Copyright protects against copying, regardless of proper attribution.
  • There is no © sign next to the content? The © sign is just a way of showing who the copyright belongs to. Copyright exists automatically. Therefore, there does not need to be a © sign for the content to be protected by copyright. Permission will be required.
  • It is ‘open access’? There are lots of different types of open access licences. You will need permission unless the licence under which the content was made available allows commercial reuse. Refer to this page for further details. You also need to ensure that the specific material you wish to reuse is original to the open access article. Figures that are credited to another source are still likely to require permission.
  • It is a graph/table of data? Reuse of a graphical/pictorial representation of data, e.g. a graph/table, does need permission (as someone has put effort into creating it). However, reuse of raw data does not generally need permission, provided you have plotted it into a different graph/table. You should however cite the source of the data.
  • It is ‘fair use’? The US concept of fair use (which allows certain uses of content without permission) does not apply to IOP Publishing as we have to comply with UK copyright legislation.
  • It was published by a signatory to the STM Permissions Guidelines? If the STM Signatory Publisher from which you wish to use figures/text extracts is listed in the first, ‘Automatic process’ column of the STM Permissions Guidelines, then you do not need permission if the amount of figures/text you want to use is within the quota allowed by the STM Permissions Guidelines. Otherwise, if the STM Signatory Publisher from which you wish to use figures/text extracts is listed in the second ‘Notification required’ column of the STM Permissions Guidelines, then use within the quota allowed by the STM Permissions Guidelines will be permitted free of charge, but permission must be obtained from the STM Signatory Publisher. See our guide to the STM Guidelines here.
  • It was published by IOP or one of its partners? If you are submitting an article to be published by IOP, you may include original figure(s) from articles published in a journal owned by IOP, or in a partner journal for which IOP handles permissions, in new works created or co-created by you. You must always ensure that you have cited the prior publication from which the figures were taken. However, if IOP does not accept the article, and you wish to submit the article to another journal not published by IOP, you must obtain express permission from IOP to reuse any figures. If you wish to use figures published under the subscription model by one of our partner journals who handle their own permissions, you must contact the partner to request permission.