Frequently Asked Questions - Requestors

How does PLSclear help people seeking permission to use other people’s content?

PLSclear helps you by:

  • Ensuring you identify the current rights holder quickly.
  • Sending your request to the correct person within the rights holding organisation.
  • Providing all the information rights holders need to process your request efficiently.
  • Enabling you to manage all your permission requests within one system.

How do I start using PLSclear?

Search for the work you plan to reuse content from by using the PLSclear search bar. PLSclear will then guide you through the Request Wizard, an interactive permissions questionnaire.

Once submitted, your request is sent directly to the permissions contact at the relevant rights holder organisation.

If you have any issues searching, contact our helpdesk on

How long will it take the rights holder to get back to me?

If the publisher has set up automated licensing you will receive an immediate response if the details of your request meet their specific criteria. If not, the request will be sent directly to their PLSclear inbox to be managed directly and response times will vary.

How do I manage my requests?

The Request Manager inbox lets you receive get real-time updates and communicate directly with the rights holder to clarify or follow up on any pending permissions requests.

Can I make multiple requests to different publishers for one project?

Yes. PLSclear allows you to save the usage details of your project. For subsequent requests you will be asked if you want to add the new request to an existing project or you can enter details for a new use.

This will also allow you to check the progress of requests for a particular project in one place.

How do I pay via PLSclear?

As a requestor you can pay either by credit card, or in some cases by requesting an invoice.

PLSclear only accepts payment in Pounds Sterling.

Payment methods

PLSclear accepts payment by credit card via Worldpay.

We accept the following credit cards:

Credit Card Images for MasterCard, Visa, Maestro and JCB

In some circumstances we can issue invoices for payment by other methods. For more information please contact us at

Do you have a refund policy?

Yes, PLSclear has the following refund policy:

Under EU regulations you have the right to cancel the licence you have been granted through PLSclear by email or in writing and in any case within seven (7) days of receipt of the licence. Should you cancel the licence, any payment made to PLS will be refunded in full within fourteen (14) days. Upon cancellation the licence shall be revoked in full and become void with immediate effect.

To request a refund please contact us at or by calling +44 (0)20 7079 5930. You will need to supply your request ID number, name and email address. We reserve the right to ask you for further information in order to complete your refund request.

I’m based overseas, how can I pay?

Overseas customers can also pay by credit card via Worldpay.

Some overseas customers may qualify for invoicing. If you would like to be invoiced, please contact us.

I cannot find what I am looking for - can you help?

Yes – if you have any questions, please contact our helpdesk at The service is available Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (GMT). Please allow up to two working days for a response.

Can you give me the email of a publisher’s permissions contact?

We cannot provide email addresses for permissions contacts due to data protection regulations.

If you wish to follow up on an outstanding permissions request, the messaging feature within the Request Manager allows you to communicate directly with the rights holder.

If you still have not heard from the rights holder or if you have a particular issue, you can contact us at and we may be able to help.

Can I search for a title by DOI?

PLSclear does not currently offer search by DOI. When requesting permission to use content from a journal, please search for the journal ISSN rather than the DOI.

How many rights holders are in the PLSclear database?

Almost all UK publishers are signed up with PLS and are listed in our permissions contact database.

How accurate is PLSclear?

The PLSclear database has been extensively tested, using real-life permissions requests. It successfully identifies the current rights holder 9 times out of 10. For problematic requests, you can contact our helpdesk ( for further assistance.

Does PLSclear or PLS grant permissions on behalf of publishers?

The PLSclear tool enables requestors to obtain permission from participating publishers and handles payment for fee-payable requests. Permission is granted by the publisher or rights holder of the work.

Does PLSclear help secure permissions for newspaper content / pictures / photographs / images / music?

No. Please visit the copyrighthub for more information on these areas.

Can PLSclear help secure permission when rights have reverted to the author?

In some cases, yes. We have a partnership with ALCS (the Authors Licensing and Collecting Agency), who will search their author databases on your behalf. We also recommend you try the Watch File, which is a database of copyright contacts for writers and artists.

Can PLSclear help locate an author who has written under a pseudonym?

If the author’s title is linked with a publisher that is still in business, then it is likely that you will be able to locate the author. If the title is not linked to a publisher, it will be harder to locate the author. The Watch File may contain the information you need.

Can PLSclear help locate the estates of deceased authors where the titles are not listed in PLSclear?

No, but we recommend searching the Watch File, a useful resource for locating author estates.

Does the PLSclear database include titles published outside of the UK?

Yes, the PLSclear database contains details of titles published outside the UK. The database has over 50 million records of English-language titles published around the world. However not all overseas permissions requests can be facilitated via PLSclear. Contact our helpdesk ( for further assistance.

Can PLSclear help secure permission when a publisher has gone out of business?

Possibly. If the publishers list was sold, you should be able to locate the current rights holder on PLSclear. If the copyright has reverted to the author, we will work with ALCS (the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society) to see if they can forward on the permissions request to the author directly.

Can PLSclear help secure permissions for content found on websites?

No, the simplest way of securing permission to reuse content from websites is to use the "Contact us" link that appears on most sites, and ask the publisher of the site directly.

What is covered under a CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) licence (and therefore might not need permission)?

The best way to determine whether reuse is covered by a CLA licence is to use their title search engine at

PLSclear Text and Data Mining function

What is Text and Data Mining?

Text and data mining is a specialist research technique undertaken by academics and researchers.
See the wikipedia page on Text and data mining for more information.

How does the PLSclear Text and Data Mining service work?

Researchers face similar problems to other potential licensees. These include finding the current rights holder, contacting the appropriate person within the right holding organisation and supplying them with the information they need to make a quick decision about how to progress the collaboration.

PLSclear TDM enables researchers to search by publisher or by DOI and includes a questionnaire developed by leading publishers within the STM sector. It is possible to upload DOIs in bulk and PLSclear will automatically route copies of the form to different publishers.

As with PLSclear, PLSclear TDM will not provide you with permission: it enables you to find the rightsholder quickly and easily, puts you in contact with them, and they will then confirm permission directly with you.

The Text and Data Mining Service can be accessed here.