Manuscript Tips: Permissions

The following is the next installment in a series on writing for publication from Kris Greiner, editor in the Design Center. Explore her suite of editing services.

If you find an image, graph, table, or other previously published material that you want to use in your own paper or presentation, you’ll very likely need to acquire permission to do so.

Most publishers make it very easy to request permission to use materials from their journals, textbooks, or online resources. Look for a prominent link to “Permissions,” “Get rights and content,” or a copyright symbol.

Some permissions requests go directly to a publisher, but most will direct you to a copyright service center, called RightsLink®, found at Create an account and follow the steps for requesting permission. The advantage of using RightsLink is that it is an automated system, providing permission immediately.

Be aware that there’s usually a fee required for a grant of permission. These fees are set by the publishers of the original material, not RightsLink. Fees will vary depending on where and how you plan to reuse the material. If using the material is vital to your work but the fee is unreasonable, you can contact the publisher directly and request that the fee be waived.

Navigating the permissions request process takes a little practice, so if you need assistance, please feel free to contact me, at

Final thought: if you do reuse a previously published image, make sure you get a high-resolution copy. More on that in the next post.

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