Copyright and Permissions




FAQs Copyright

Q1 – What is an exclusive licence agreement?
A – With an exclusive licence you retain copyright. Your work is credited as © The Author(s) but you license the control of all rights exclusively to SAGE or, where relevant, a society or other proprietary publishing partner. This means that all licensing requests including permissions are managed by SAGE.

Q2 – Why do we require an exclusive licence agreement?
A – We seek to bring your article to the widest possible readership. An exclusive licence helps us ensure adequate protection against infringement of copyright protected material through breach of copyright or piracy anywhere in the world. It also ensures that requests by third parties to reprint or reproduce a contribution, or part of it in any format, are handled efficiently in accordance with general policy which encourages dissemination of knowledge inside the framework of copyright.

Q3 – Who owns the copyright in your article?
A – If you have written your article yourself, or with co–authors, and you have not been commissioned to write the article by someone else (either by a government agency, your employer or any other party) you (and any co–authors) will hold the copyright in your article. If you have written the article in the capacity of your role at work or your contract of employment you may not hold copyright in your article, and you will need to check the relevant box on your Contributor Agreement. Please see below for further information.

Q4 – What if I have co–authors contributing to this article?
A – You must ensure that you have their consent to submit the article for publication and that you have the right to sign the Contributor Agreement on their behalf. Or, if they prefer, you may all sign either one copy of the the form before returning it, or each author may sign and return their own copy.

Q5 – What if my employer holds the copyright in my work?
A –You need to check the relevant box on your Contributor Agreement and have your employer sign the Contributor Agreement too.

Q6 – What if I am a government employee?
A – a) If you are a UK , Canadian, Australian or British Commonwealth government employee, you just need to check the regular ‘work made for hire for employment box’ and have  your manager sign the Contributor Agreement too.
b) If you are a US federal employee, please check with your manager, but your work should be in the public domain, so not in copyright and therefore not assignable. Please check the relevant box on the form.

Q7 – What are my rights as author?
A – It is important to check the policy for the journal to which you are submitting or publishing to establish your rights as
Author. SAGE's standard policies allow the following re-use rights:

  • You may do whatever you wish with the version of the article you submitted to the journal (Version 1).
  • Once the article has been accepted for publication, you may post the accepted version (Version 2) of the article on your own personal website, your department's website or the repository of your institution without any restrictions.
  • You may not post the accepted version (Version 2) of the article in any repository other than those listed above (i.e. you may not deposit in the repository of another institution or a subject-matter repository) until 12 months after publication of the article in the journal.
  • You may use the published article (version 3) for your own teaching needs or to supply on an individual basis to research colleagues, provided that such supply is not for commercial purposes.
  • You may use the article (version 3) _*in a book authored or edited by you *_at any time after publication in the journal. This does not apply to books where you are contributing a chapter to a book authored or edited by someone else.
  • You may not post the published article (version 3) on a website or in a repository without permission from SAGE.
  • When posting or re-using the article please provide a link to the appropriate DOI for the published version of the article on SAGE Journals (

If your re-use is not already covered by our standard re-use policy, you can request permission by following the instructions on our Journal Permissions page

More information about permissions.

Q8 – Can I publish my article open access in the SAGE Choice Scheme?
A – SAGE offers optional, funded open access in a number of journals. To view a current list, link to the further information below. For these journals, you will be invited to select this option on acceptance of your article. More information is available by linking to SAGE Choice FAQ. The SAGE Choice Access Publishing Agreement enables distribution of your article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non–Commercial License (–nc/2.0/uk/) which permits unrestricted non–commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


FAQs Permissions

Q9 – What if I want to re–use material from another source in my article?
A – If your work does not qualify for a fair dealing exception (please see below) you will need to clear permission for all third party material you intend to include: direct text extracts, tables, or illustrations that have appeared in copyrighted material must be accompanied by written permission for their use from the copyright owner and original author along with complete information as to source. You may be able to benefit from free re-use of a limited amount of material from certain publishers under ‘STM Permissions Guidelines’ (see Q17).
Where possible, photographs of identifiable persons should be accompanied by signed releases from these people showing informed consent. This is particularly important for children and essential if photographs feature situations where privacy would be expected.
Articles appear in both the print and online versions of the journal, and wording of the permission licence must specify permission in all formats and media. Failure to get electronic permission rights will result in the images not being included at all in your article.
If you are unsure whether you need to clear permission, please contact SAGE’s Rights & Permissions Department (contact details below) for assistance.
There are some occasions where permission is not required for re–use of material from another source. The most important of these is ‘fair dealing’ (or ‘fair use’ in the USA.)

Q10 –What are ‘STM Permissions Guidelines’ and how can I use them?
A – SAGE is signed up to the STM permissions guidelines. Confusingly, STM does not only refer to scientific, technical and medical content only, but to all content of publishers that are members of an organization called STM.
These guidelines allow signatory publishers (and their authors) to use small amounts of other signatory publishers’ materials without payment of a fee. In some cases there is no need to request permission. In other cases, a publisher wishing to use content from another publisher simply cites the guidelines when requesting the material from the other publisher. Generally, the other publisher will then grant permission without charge.
View further information about STM Permissions Guidelines and the process for providing notification when required.

Q11 – What is ‘fair dealing’, and what does it cover?
A – UK law provides that copyright will not be infringed by ‘fair dealing’ but it does not define what ‘fair dealing’ itself means. It has come to be interpreted as referring to the way material is used, as well as the intention of the person using it.  However, use of third party material must qualify as fair dealing for a particular purpose.
There are a number of these purposes specified in UK law but the most relevant one for us is Fair Dealing for Criticism or Review
What constitutes ‘fair dealing for Criticism or Review’?
First of all use of third party material must be ‘Fair’. That means: not systematic and not conflicting with the rights of the copyright holder or affecting their ability to benefit from the work:

  • There is no set amount of material allowed or forbidden.  But the use cannot be systematic or excessive. Do not rely on wordcounts.
  • You must always make proper acknowledgment to the original copyright work. 

Criticism or review:

  • The third party material used must be discussed in the context of criticism or review. This is an essential component providing a justification for fair dealing.
  • There is no legal definition of criticism or review but it’s likely that there would be a fairly liberal interpretation by the Courts.
  • Mere illustration or ‘window dressing’ is ruled out.A good question to ask is whether your work would stand up if the material was deleted?  If so, it is unlikely to be for criticism and review. For example, use of material for an epigram would not be fair dealing.
  • This defence can only be used in United Kingdom law in conjunction with published works.
  • Permission is always required if you wish to modify or make changes to the third party material because all authors have moral rights under European law.

If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you can use the material as ‘fair dealing’ you should clear permission, or leave the material out.
Please note, this is SAGE’s working view of a relatively untested area of the law.
For more definitive guidelines please consult the British Academy/Publishers Association Joint Guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research:–guidelines/

Q12 – Is there any specific wording I should use in my letter requesting permission?
A – In order to be able to publish your work in the print and online versions of your article we require permission to be granted for worldwide rights to reproduce in all media in all formats.  View a template letter requesting permission 

Q13 –Is there any article use or re–use that does not require permission from SAGE?
A – Yes, please click here to review your rights as author.

Q14 – How can I contact the Rights & Permissions department at SAGE?
by email:
by post:
Rights & Permissions Department
SAGE Publications
1 Oliver’s Yard
55 City Yard
by fax: +44 (0)20 7324 8600 marked for the attention of the Rights & Permissions Department