Usage of picture from published journals

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RedBull's picture
Usage of picture from published journals

I am writing a thesis for my Final Year Project.

I had read a lot of journals and books and articles regarding the project.

Now, I found that some pictures are very useful in illustrating my explanation in the thesis, especially in the part of the "Litreature Review".

I think it's not so worth for scientists to design all these pictures every time they are going to publish their articles. If there is the existence of the desired pictures in other journals, why not use these pictures? If they have the time to design the pictuers again, why not use the time to think about the other constructive academic things? I admit that re-designing the pictures can refine the pictures to better quality. But I don't think it's necessary all the time. If the pictures come to be unneccessary to be re-designed, I do think that it's more constructive to adapt the pictures from other sources.

Therefore, here comes my question, should I get permission from the authors for the usage of their pictures? If yes, how can I do that?

saswati1's picture
I would say to get a

I would say to get a permission as your thesis would be an official thing which in most of the cases is kept by the university/institute library. Copyright might be an issue for copying a picture from the published paper/book. Most of the time, you find an email address mentioned in the paper. Contact them and atleast get some sort of proof of permission. T
The above writing is just only a suggestion

Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor's picture
Copyright is the important

Copyright is the important factor.

Some scientists give away their copyright to journal publishers when they write an article so aren't in a position to give you permission to use it.

Many "Open Access" journals let you use their content, as long as you cite the source. See :

Read the copyright statements of other Journals, some like the JBC make specific allowance for your situation:

Non-free journals are not only inaccessible to many scientists, particular those working in poorer parts of the world, or in smaller companies / institutions but as you point out inappriopriate licencing such as "non-derivitive" mean that much effort is wasted on futile excercises.

The solution comes from the funding sources - where public money is used to fund research the results should be freely available to the public - charities should also insist that the outcomes of work they fund are made freely available.

The current system isn't compatible with the modern world, and is holding back scientific progress, not just because of problems with access to and freedom to use information but also because of the type of people it results in becomming scientists in public institutions, though some places are becomming more enlightened when it comes to assessing research output.

Are you allowed to release your thesis under a free licence? (You could try it'll might well cause a bit of a fuss if you're working with traditionalist academics :-) )

R Bishop
R Bishop's picture
Therefore, here comes my

Therefore, here comes my question, should I get permission from the authors for the usage of their pictures? If yes, how can I do that?

In my experience it was very easy to obtain permission from authors to use their figures in my thesis. It required a simple email/fax exchange. Most PIs expect this and are often gratified you want to use their figures.


RedBull's picture
I see.

I see.

I will try using the methods as metioned.

Well, I think my thesis (if it can be published) should be openly accessible to other scientists.

I think my supervisor is kind of open minded.

Ultimately, I am not sure whether my work will be accessible in the end as my project is just an undergraduate project.