Policy on Use of Previously Published Data in Illustrations

Any presentation of previously published data as novel results is not permitted. Please see ethical policies on data duplication/duplicate publication for more information.

In Review Articles and Editorial Material

If scientifically appropriate, APS journals allow use of previously published illustrations in review articles, editorials, or letters only if:

  • Written permission(s) has been obtained from the copyright holder(s), regardless of adaptation or modification. The authors are responsible for obtaining the permission and for any fees assessed by the copyright holder. (Note that authors are not required to obtain permission to use material that was previously published by the APS.)
  • Proof of such permission is provided at the time the article is submitted.
  • Proper citations are provided in the manuscript (figure legends) for the previously published illustrations.
  • The iillustrations are publication quality. (The illustration files are best obtained from the original publisher or original author. Images downloaded from the Internet may not be of acceptable quality for publication.)

In Research Articles

Republishing data (or images) in the form of an illustration when used for comparative purposes with new findings (or to summarize overall findings) is allowed when the conditions listed above and below are met:

  • The purpose of the republication is not simply to expand or reinforce a line of argument but to allow for an explicit comparison that would be much harder for the reader to make otherwise.
  • It is a small fraction of the total information presented in the paper.
  • The use of previously published data is declared and justified within the research article and in the submission (cover) letter.
  • The Journal Editors must concur that the use of the previously published data meets these criteria and provides a clear benefit to the reader.

Outside of the conditions listed above, illustrations and photographs in research articles must be original and not otherwise previously posted, distributed, or published. This prohibition applies to, but is not limited to, images distributed or posted on Internet web sites. If original artwork is commissioned from a third party, permission must be obtained from the artist for APS to have full rights to its usage. Images of people must be accompanied by (at manuscript submission stage) letters of written consent from the person(s) or their legal guardian. Usually, an original drawing of a human subject in an experimental assembly is preferable to a photograph of a person engaged in an experimental assembly, and APS may require that such photographs be replaced by original drawings (see Acceptable Use of Photographs).


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