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Using figures & other content from published works

Publishers that allow reuse of content without permission 

These publishers give MIT authors the right, without asking permission or paying a fee, to use, with appropriate credit, figures, tables and brief excerpts of works that the MIT Libraries subscribe to in the author’s own scientific, scholarly and educational works:

  • American Chemical Society (ACS)*
  • American Institute of Physics
  • Elsevier*
  • IEEE
  • Institute of Physics
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Sage
  • Springer Nature
  • Taylor & Francis
  • Wiley

*ACS and Elsevier allow similar rights but with limitations: Authors can incorporate a maximum of two figures (including charts, tables, graphs and other images) from a journal article or book chapter or five figures per journal volume in academic works, research papers and scholarly publications and presentations for non-commercial purposes.

(Though MIT Libraries ended our contract with Elsevier in summer 2020, authors can still rely on this license for pre-2020 journals; that is, the right to reuse parts of Elsevier articles is still in effect for all Elsevier journals that we’d subscribed to. This includes most pre-2020 articles.)

ACS, Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley also stipulate that the user must make appropriate credit, but also makes the point that if a separate copyright holder is identified in such figure or the figure is a complex illustration (for example an anatomical drawing, cartoon, map, or photograph) then permission should be sought from the publisher or copyright holder.

In general, permission should be sought if the figure, table, or illustration indicates a copyright holder other than the publisher.

How to take advantage of these terms

If a publisher wants evidence of the permission to reuse figures, tables, or illustrations from journals published by one of these publishers authors can indicate permission was granted through a license signed by MIT with the publisher for access to the journals at MIT, and can point journal editors to this web page.

Reuse with permission from the author

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences also allows reuse of figures or tables from their journal for new noncommercial and educational uses (such as in a review article) without asking permission from PNAS, as long as the original source is cited. In the case of PNAS (unlike the other publishers included here), it is, however, necessary to ask the author of the article for permission.

Other publisher statements

About a dozen publishers have agreed to a policy statement produced by the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers that allows similar reuses without permission, including the American Chemical Society, BMJ Publishing Group, the Institute of Physics, the International Union of Crystallography, Oxford University Press Journals, Portland Press, the Royal Society of Chemistry. See the linked document for details.