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Eresources help: Responsible use

Responsible use of our digital resources

Tips to ensure your ongoing access

The Library provides access to many digital resources, including journal databases and ebooks, for your study and research. We encourage you to use our digital resources but there are limits on what you're allowed to do which are set by the publisher providing the resource. If you exceed these limits, your access to our digital resources may be blocked.

What are the exact limits?

Unfortunately, we can't give you the exact limits as they vary from publisher to publisher and are often only given in terms of "reasonable" or "fair" usage. If you're conducting text and data mining, library staff can help you find resources that allow mining so you can avoid breaching download limits.

What happens if I exceed the limits?

At first your access to our digital resources, including journal databases and ebooks, will be temporarily blocked and your access will be restored automatically after a few hours. You will see a message when you have been temporarily blocked.

If you repeatedly exceed the limits your access won't be restored automatically. We do this to avoid a publisher from blocking access to the digital resource for the whole university.

Why did I get blocked?

In order to provide digital resources to you, the University of Sydney has signed legal agreements with publishers that states how University staff and students are allowed to use their digital resources. Under those agreements, publishers can block access for all University staff and students should any one of us exceed those limits. When this happens, it causes a lot of issues for our university community. In practice, you're likely to get blocked when you download many articles, books or book chapters at once, or when you're using techniques or tools that quickly download resources.

If you're blocked from a digital resource and want to find out more, you can use Live Chat on the library homepage to talk directly to a library staff member or use the contact us form and we'll be in touch.

Conducting a systematic review using our digital resources

The library provides support for HDR students and researchers conducting systematic reviews. You can find information about systematic reviews and the support available on the systematic reviews page.

Tips to avoid exceeding download limits

  • View summaries of abstracts of articles before you download or view the full version in your browser. Keep in mind that when you view the full text inside your browser, that is also downloading it; it's not just when you save it to your desktop.
  • Download only a responsible amount at any one time and only download more once you’ve read what you have already downloaded.
  • Ensure reference management tools, for example EndNote, aren't configured to automatically download and attach PDFs when you add citations, particularly if you're rapidly adding many citations during a systematic review. Find out how to turn off automatic PDF downloads on our EndNote Guide FAQs.