Copy that! How to do it legally

If you work for the NHS or are a student on placement, the following applies when using copyrighted material.

What can I copy?

Provided the original is owned or subscribed to by the NHS and is covered by the copyright licence, you can copy:

  • two articles from a journal issue
  • any number from a themed issue
  • one chapter or 5% from a book

Can I share an article with NHS colleagues or use it in a journal club?

Yes – you can make multiple copies, including copies of copies.

Can I add a journal article to the Intranet?

No – this would breach copyright.

Instead, you can give the full reference on PubMed and a link to the full text stating who it would be accessible to, eg:

Bellringer SF, Brogan K, Cassidy L, Gibbs J.  Standardised virtual fracture clinic management of radiographically stable Weber B ankle fractures is safe, cost effective and reproducible. Injury 2017;48(7):1670-1673.

Abstract available on PubMed.   Full text access available online (for eligible organisations including Brighton and Sussex University Hospital. An OpenAthens password is required).

What if the original isn’t owned by the NHS?

 You can still make a copy from any copyright work but the legal situation is different.  You are permitted to:

  • copy a reasonable proportion, eg. one article from a journal issue or one chapter from a book
  • make just one single copy
  • it must be for personal and non-commercial research only

For further information contact