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

Unless clearly marked as open-access material, 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 or 5% from a journal issue, whichever is the greater. 

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

Downloading the entire contents of an electronic journal is illegal.


you may print or download up to one chapter or 5%, whichever is the greater

Printing or downloading more than this, without the permission of the copyright owner, is against 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 prohibited by our licence agreements with publishers. 

This includes 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 they detect.  When this arises the publisher may block access from specific University of Edinburgh IP addresses, or 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.


Text and Data Mining

Increasingly, publishers (including Elsevier) aim to support research activity by allowing Text and Data Mining to be carried out on copyrighted content, generally via a separate licence and/or API.  Please contact individual publishers - or the E-Resources Team via the IS Helpline - for further information.

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