Copyright and authors’ rights

This excludes open access articles, for OA articles please visit this section.

For most journals, authors (or their employers) retain copyright in their work. BMJ only requires an exclusive licence that allows us to publish the article in the chosen journal (including any derivative products) and any other BMJ products, and allows us to sublicense such rights and exploit all subsidiary rights. A non-exclusive licence is available for authors that are unable to sign an exclusive licence, such as UK Crown and US Federal Government employees.

Journals that are published by BMJ on behalf of other organisations may have different licensing arrangements, so authors should check the individual journal’s licence below.


Granting the licence

We ask the corresponding author to grant the exclusive licence (or non-exclusive licence for applicable authors) on behalf of all authors by reading and agreeing to the following statement at the point of submission:

“The Corresponding Author has the right to grant on behalf of all authors and does grant on behalf of all authors, an exclusive licence (or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown and US Federal Government employees) on a worldwide basis to the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, and its Licensees to permit this article (if accepted) to be published in [INSERT NAME OF JOURNAL] and any other BMJPGL products and to exploit all subsidiary rights, as set out in our licence.”


NIH Employees

Manuscripts authored or co-authored by one or more NIH employees must be submitted with a completed and signed NIH Publishing Agreement and Manuscript Cover Sheet according to NIH’s Employee Procedures.


Authors’ rights

The licence allows authors to use their articles for their own non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from BMJ and subject only to acknowledging first publication in the relevant journal and giving a full reference or web link, as appropriate. Only if the use is commercial does permission need to be sought.


Conference Abstracts
A different licence applies when publishing an abstract presented at a conference. Authors grant BMJ an exclusive licence to the work whilst retaining copyright and the right to reuse the abstract for non-commercial purposes. The licence can be found here.
If you have any questions about using your published abstract as part of future articles please email with the details.

BMJ policies on author self-archiving and permissions