Copyright and authors’ rights

For most journals, authors (or their employers) retain copyright in their work. BMJ usually requires an exclusive licence that allows us to publish the article in the chosen journal and sublicence the rights. A non-exclusive licence is available where BMJ has agreed a CC BY licence shall apply or for authors that are unable to sign an exclusive licence, such as UK Crown employees and US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties.

We ask the submitting 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:

“I [SUBMITTING AUTHOR NAME], the Submitting Author has the right to grant and does grant on behalf of all authors of the Work (as defined in the below author licence), an exclusive licence and/or a non-exclusive licence for contributions from authors who are: i) UK Crown employees; ii) where BMJ has agreed a CC BY licence shall apply, and/or iii) in accordance with the terms applicable for US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties; on a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free basis to BMJ Publishing Group Ltd (“BMJ”) its licensees and where the relevant Journal is co-owned by BMJ to the co-owners of the Journal, to publish the Work in [JOURNAL NAME] and any other BMJ products and to exploit all rights, as set out in our licence [link].”


Author licences by journal

BMJ has a standard author licence for wholly owned and co-owned Journals. BMJ 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:


Authors’ rights

The BMJ Author Licence allows authors to use their articles for their own non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from BMJ – the only condition being that a full reference or link to the original is included. For further information on authors’ rights please visit this section: BMJ policies on author self-archiving and permissions.


Open Access options

Please see this section for Open Access options.


NIH Employees

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



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.