Guide for Business Faculty: Cases/HBR

HBS Content Copyright Policy

Policy Here, and regarding class use of cases and HBR articles:

... we prohibit the posting of cases, articles, or chapters on “e-reserve” course pages for student access, as well as in “electronic coursepacks” that link to our digitized content and content postings on course management systems such as WebCT or Blackboard. Such unauthorized postings are equivalent to distributing our copyrighted content to students without permission, which infringes that copyright. This is so even if the content is being used for the first time and is password-protected, accessible only to students in the course, and taken down at the end of the course.

Cases & Case Studies

The definition of "Case Study" varies from publication to publication. The "case studies" in traditional journals and books are not necessarily the same as commercial "cases" from publishers like Harvard Business School Publishing.

The Library does NOT collect commercial cases due to licensing restrictions imposed by the publishers. Each student must pay for their own copies. To find and use these commercial cases, go to Harvard Business Publishing. By registering for a free educator account, you can create an online coursepack to provide online access to specific cases (with "up to 60% off" for students). 

You can also search for freely available case studies in the resources mentioned below. 

Free Case Studies

There isn't one single clearinghouse similar to Harvard Business School Publishing or Case Centre to search for free cases. Below is a list of sources that provide free cases on various topics. 

Cases addressing "the dark side of contemporary capitalism." From the Academy of Management Dark Side Case Competition

Harvard Business Review

HBR articles in Business Source Premier (BSP, an EBSCOhost database) cannot be used for teaching purposes.

Harvard Business Review Notice of Use Restrictions, May 2009:

Harvard Business Review and Harvard Business Publishing Newsletter content on EBSCOhost is licensed for the private individual use of authorized EBSCOhost users. It is not intended for use as assigned course material in academic institutions nor as corporate learning or training materials in businesses. Academic licensees may not use this content in electronic reserves, electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources. Business licensees may not host this content on learning management systems or use persistent linking or other means to incorporate the content into learning management systems. Harvard Business Publishing will be pleased to grant permission to make this content available through such means. For rates and permission, contact

That means an instructor should NOT do the following with HBR articles in BSP: 1) uploading PDFs, or 2) providing links in syllabus or D2L, or 3) verbally assigning specific HBR articles during class. The instructor needs to set up a free educator's account and create the course pack, then share the course pack link with students. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why can't instructors use HBR articles since they are available in Business Source Premier?
-- It's HBP's policy. The articles in Business Source Premier are for "research" only; articles used for "teaching purposes" are not covered by the license and not free to the students.

Can students use Business Source Premier on their own and cite HBR articles in their papers or coursework?
-- Yes, if they are doing research and find these articles serendipitously.

Can I just tell students to find these articles without linking to them?
-- No, if the students are told to find them for a class, the articles are used for "teaching." HBP does track the usage of HBR and a sudden increase in the search and download of a specific article will be flagged as violation.

What are my options if I want to link to articles for a class so students can read them for free?
-- The website has many articles in full text and it is okay to link to them for a class. However, guest users and registered users can only view a limited number of free articles per month. 

-- If the HBR article is also in one of the HBR's 10 Must Reads ebooks, you can link to the ebook. To find out if an article is in the ebooks, just do a search by the article title in the library catalog. 

-- Articles from most other journals PSU Library subscribes to can be used as course materials, whether you put them on Course Reserves, link to them in your course page, or verbally assign them as required reading. The Library is already paying for these resources so your students can read them without any additional cost. 

Who can provide more information regarding the course pack?
-- I recommend contacting HBP directly

What else do I need to know about HBR articles in BSP?

-- Starting 8/1/2013, Harvard Business Publishing has restricted access to HBR's 500 most popular articles (initial list -- titles change over time) to "read-only" in BSP. These articles cannot be printed or linked to from a persistent link. You can still search for them in BSP, download the PDF, or email the PDF to yourself. 

-- How do I know it's one of those articles?

  • In the BSP article record you will see this message: The publisher offers limited access to this article. The full text cannot be printed or saved. Solution: There is nothing you can do. Just read it online.
  • If you see this message in BSP through an external link (e.g., from searching the library catalog): "The publisher offers limited access to this article. The full text cannot be viewed from a persistent link." Solution: do a new search directly in BSP and you will find the full text.

Other Sources for Case Studies

Case studies in journals and magazines: * these are different from "cases" in the commercial/traditional sense

Use "case study" in the Subject Terms field, then add additional keywords (e.g., marketing, management).


Case studies in books: * these are different from "cases" in the commercial/traditional sense

You can do a keyword search in the PSU Library Catalog (the search box in the middle of the page).

Or use the Advanced Search for a more targeted search (fewer, more relevant results): for example,

enter the phrases case studies or case study under the Subject field.