Information Services

Copyright and e-resources

Access to e-resources is provided by the Library via licence agreements with publishers, and the materials provided by publishers are subject to copyright law.

Printing and downloading

E-Resources provided by the Library are copyright material, subject to copyright law. This means that there are clearly defined limits to the amount of material which can be downloaded or printed from any e-journal or e-book which we licence from a publisher.


You may print or download up to one article from an individual issue of a  journal for private study and non-commercial research. 

Printing or downloading more than this, without the permission of the copyright owner, is an infringement of copyright law.


you may print or download up to one chapter or 5%, whichever is the greater, for private study and non-commercial research.

Printing or downloading more than this, without the permission of the copyright owner, is an infringement of copyright law.

There may also be additional restrictions to the level of downloading from e-books, depending on limits set by individual publishers and third party suppliers. Where this is the case there will usually be alerts on the pubisher or supplier website to indicate how much you can print or download from the e-book.

Systematic downloading

Systematic downloading of material is generally prohibited by our licence agreements with publishers, although this does vary from licence to licence.  

Prohibited activity may include use of robots, spiders, crawlers or other automated downloading programs, or any manual process to sytematically search, scrape, extract, deep link or index any of the copyright material.

Publishers carefully monitor use of the material provided via their web sites or platforms, and they will notify us of any mass-downloading activity which their systems detect.  When this arises the publisher may block access from specific University of Edinburgh IP addresses, or they may suspend access to the whole service for all University of Edinburgh staff and students, until the problem has been resolved.

Most e-journal web sites include a link to the publisher's terms and conditions where consent to copy 'fairly' from an electronic journal may be given by the publisher's licence.


It is your responsibility to ensure that you are acting within both the copyright law and the publisher's licence terms - please contact the E-Resources Team via the IS Helpline below if you have any queries about specific e-resources.


Text and Data Mining

Increasingly, publishers are supporting research activity by allowing members of subscribing institutions to carry out Text and Data Mining on their copyrighted, licenced content.

This access is governed by usage terms and conditions which are already included in the contracts or licence agreements into which the Library has entered with the publisher, and the access will also be governed by existing copyright provisions

  • In some instances, publishers will require you to use specific tools or dedicated TDM platforms which they provide to facilitate the mining of their content, or they may conduct the process for you.  This allows publishers to manage the volume of data being accessed and the impact on their servers. 
  • The publisher may also require you - as an individual - to sign a specific and separate TDM licence, or to use an API.
  • Unauthorised mining can affect the performance of publisher platforms, and this will impact on authorised users across the University who are trying to access and read the content. 
  • Publishers may also levy a fee for the additional usage which sits outside of our existing licence agreement.

Please note that publishers have systems in place which detect downloading of large amounts of data, and this frequently triggers automatic lockouts, preventing legitimate access to resources by authorised users across the University.

The Library is currently reviewing existing licence agreements to determine those which already include provision for text  mining and analysis by University of Edinburgh authorised users, and a list will be made available on this page in due course.

In the meantime, you can consult the Library’s E-Resources Team (via the IS Helpline) if you have any queries about using specific University of Edinburgh  licenced Library e-resources as a source of data.


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