FAQs NHS-HE crossover copyright queries: guidance

Frequently asked questions about the crossover between the NHS and HEIs.

FAQs for university library staff

Under what circumstances could we supply copies under the NHS CLA Licence?

You are covered by the NHS CLA Licence if there is an agreement in place for your library to provide services to one or more NHS organisations or staff groups.

Across the country, many university-managed library services have contracts, service agreements or historical arrangements to provide library services, including document supply services, to NHS staff. 

In these circumstances, you may supply copies from your print or electronic university-owned stock to the NHS staff covered by your agreement under the terms of the NHS CLA Licence.

How much copying is allowed under the NHS CLA Licence?

In a nutshell, up to two articles from a single issue of a journal (or several articles from an issue if on the same theme), or up to one chapter or 5% of a book (whichever is greater). Multiple copies and “copies of copies” are allowed for any NHS-related purpose, and there is no upper limit to the number of copies which may made. This poster summarises copying permissions.

I understand the NHS CLA Licence includes access to free copyright fee paid articles?

Yes, so if an NHS staff member asks for an article which cannot be sourced from your own stock or from within the NHS, and that article is required for sharing (so a Library Privilege copy is unacceptable) you may obtain the article without charge via https://cla-nhscontent.com/.

FAQs for NHS library staff

Does a copyright declaration need to be completed by the requester for items to be obtained by an NHS library from a university library?

Unless the university library has a contract or SLA to provide library services to one or more NHS organisations, and can therefore supply copies under the NHS CLA Licence, usually they would only be able to supply Library Privilege copies, so yes, in most instances a declaration would be needed. But do not assume university libraries will supply Library Privilege copies unless part of a scheme where this has been agreed.  

Can the NHS provide university libraries with electronic articles?

Yes, but only under Library Privilege: a copyright declaration will be required.

When can we supply copies to university staff and libraries under the NHS CLA Licence?

You could supply a licenced copy to a university person contracted to do work for the NHS, or engaged with NHS colleagues on a collaboration project. You could also supply a licenced copy to a university library contracted to provide library services to one or more NHS organisations. However, you may only supply Library Privilege copies to other university libraries.

If a student is on placement, can the NHS supply them with articles or do they have to request them from their university? What about NHS staff who are undertaking courses at university whilst continuing to work?

Students on placement are covered by the NHS CLA Licence, and so NHS libraries supply them with copies from NHS originals under the NHS Licence (if library policy permits this): they may also obtain copies from university originals under the HE Licence. Similarly, NHS staff on courses are covered by both the NHS and HE licences.

Under the university CLA Licence can a chapter of a book be supplied to an NHS library?

Yes, under Library Privilege, if it can be regarded as a ‘reasonable amount’. But as above, do not assume that universities will supply Library Privilege copies.

Page last reviewed: 1 October 2021