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Copyright Quick Tips - Sharing Articles With Other Researchers

Last reviewed March 2008

You've found a terrific article in a journal your department or library subscribes to. You make a copy for further study. You decide that the article is so good that you want to share it with other researchers, graduate students, and/or journal club members. Your options are:

  • Loan your copy to those you want to read it.
  • Send the volume, issue, and page information to those you want to read it, along with your comments about what makes the article noteworthy.
  • Send your colleagues the URL for the electronic version, if available, along with your comments about what makes the article noteworthy.
  • Make copies for your colleagues. Pay the Copyright Clearance Center's Transaction Reporting Service, http://www.copyright.com, a royalty for each copy you make, unless the research reported in the article was funded by a government agency.

To comply with copyright law and UT System guidelines, you must have prior written permission from the copyright holder, which is usually a publisher, to do the following:

  • Make photocopies for others without paying royalties.
  • Scan the article and send your colleagues the resulting digital file without paying royalties.
  • Store a digital (PD, TIF, GIF) version of the article on your desktop computer or server for retrieval by your colleagues.

A template for a request for permission follows.

Sample Letter Requesting Permission
To Provide a Copy of an Article
To Other Researchers


Permissions Department
[Address: call Library for this information]

Dear Permissions Editor:

I am writing to ask your permission to [photocopy/link to a digital version of] the following journal article:

[all authors]
[article title]
[journal title]
[volume ##] [issue ##] [page ##s] [date of issue]

I wish to [photocopy/digitize] this article for distribution to [##] [faculty members/graduate students] for [research/educational] purposes. The time frame covered by this request is [describe period of time]. [If digitizing] The digitized copy of the article will be made available [only on campus/to off-campus readers] through a [secure/unrestricted] [web server/email].

Please indicate your approval of this request by signing and returning one copy of this letter using the enclosed stamped, self-addressed envelope. If you do not solely control copyright for this article, I would appreciate any information you can provide about other to whom I should write, including most recent addresses if available.


[Author's name]
[Author's address]


Copyright Holder's Permission