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How do I contact publishers?

  • Start with Rightslink, an online permissions service managed by the Copyright Clearance Center. Click on “Who’s Using Rightslink.” You can use Rightslink to contact other publishers who, like ASCE, use the Rightslink service to manage their permissions.
  • Go to the publisher’s Internet home page, and locate its policies regarding permission requests. Some publishers have online permission request systems. Others provide contact information and guidance for submitting requests.
  • If you don’t have Internet access, you can consult such books as The Literary Marketplace in your public library to obtain general contact information for publishers.
  • Most books and journals provide some guidance on permission requests. In journals, permission information is often included at the beginning, near the title page. In books, permission information is usually included on the page immediately following the title page.

What do I do if the copyright owner isn’t a traditional publishing company?

  • In some instances, you will need to contact the author of the material directly. To locate the author, you should look for contact or affiliation information in your source material. You can also search for the author on the Internet. Note that the author cannot provide permission to use published material, and should only provide contact information for the publishing company or copyright holder.  
  • For material found on the Internet but not posted by a traditional publisher, look for an e-mail address under a heading such as “Contact Us.”
  • For material from corporate brochures or catalogs, contact the marketing department of the company, which can usually be found on a contact page on the company’s Web site.
  • For internal company newsletters or reports that have not been formally published, contact the communications or public affairs department; this information can usually be found on the company’s Web site.
  • For papers that were distributed at a conference but not formally published, (a Proceedings is considered formally published), contact the authors of the papers.
  • For materials such as photographs or illustrations, especially those taken from newspapers and magazines, you may need to contact the photographer or illustrator, rather than the publisher. Look for the source in the credit line.

What do I ask for?

  • Permission Request Letters lists the information that should be part of a permission request letter and provides links to sample letters.

What if the copyright owner doesn’t respond to letter, fax, or e-mail requests in about 4 weeks?

  • Check to be certain that your original request included your own contact information, especially a fax number and an e-mail address.
  • If the copyright owner is a traditional publishing company, verify your contact information and check to see whether an Internet option is available. Otherwise, follow up with a phone call, fax, or e-mail. Keep trying until you get permission.
  • If copyright is held by the authors and the corresponding author does not respond to your requests, try contacting one of the coauthors, who may be able to help you locate the corresponding author.
  • If the copyright owner is a company, organization, or government agency, verify the contact information—a phone call might work best—and try again.
  • If the copyright owner is outside the United States, verify the contact information and try again. Be sure to include a fax number for a reply.
  • Keep copies of all of your permission requests, including follow-up requests. If you are unable to obtain permission after three attempts, consult with your ASCE staff contact.

What do I do if I can’t get permission?

ASCE cannot publish copyrighted material without the proper permission. If you are unable to obtain written permission to use previously published materials, you have several options.

  • Revise your manuscript text in such a way as to refer to the source without copying it directly.
  • Consider whether the material is essential. You may be able to revise your manuscript to eliminate it without detriment.
  • Consider taking just the data from a figure and presenting it as a table (or vice versa). In this case, you will cite the source, but permission is not necessary.
  • Determine whether alternative material that is more readily available would work as well, and revise your manuscript to substitute the alternative. (But check that the alternative isn’t reproduced from your original source.)