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Hong Kong Baptist University Library Hong Kong Baptist University


A cloud-based reference manager, an academic social network, and much more.

Mendeley and Copyright

One frequently-asked question about Mendeley is whether its use of full-text PDFs conflicts with copyright law.

Although Mendeley allows you to import PDF documents and upload them to the cloud, they are not made generally accessible to other users on Mendeley.

If you are part of a Private Group, your group members will be able to download the PDFs you share with them, but this is considered "fair use". In Public Groups, Mendeley will only allow you to share references and not full text PDFs.

Important information for authors

Important Note for Authors

Mendeley includes the option for you to upload your own publications. This is great for letting people know what you have published via your Researcher Profile, and may help to increase the impact of your work. To do this, you add references to your "My Publications" folder:

However, be aware that PDFs that you upload to this folder can be downloaded by any Mendeley user that views your profile. Mendeley will warn you about this when you add files to the folder:


Note that you probably do not have permission to make the PDF version for download if it is the publisher (final) version of your article. Most publishers reserve this right for themselves. Therefore, in general you should ensure that you do not make the publisher version of articles you have authored available via your Mendeley profile. Otherwise, you will be violating the author agreement that you made with your publisher.

Instead, you may be able to upload a post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing), as most publishers will allow you to share these. Most papers available in instutional repositories are post-print versions. You can search HKBU's own Institutional Repository for examples of what post-print versions of articles look like.

To check what the publisher of your article will allow you to do, you can use the SHERPA/RoMEO tool. Apart from restrictions on the publisher version, publishers may also require a certain amount of time to elapse before you can make other versions available.

In cases where the publisher does not allow any version to be shared, you can simply delete the file from the entry in your "My Publications" folder. The PDF will not be made available but the article will still appear in your Researcher Profile.

If you are in any doubt as to what you can upload to Mendeley, or if you need more help with publisher self-archiving policies, don't hesitate to ask a librarian.