In connection with Scholia (https://tools.wmflabs.org/scholia/), we are making OpenStreetMap plots online with the tiler from Wikimedia Foundation. When presented online OSM-derived maps are not a problem. However, if we take a screenshot, use that as part of a scientific article (likely a "Collective Work" - https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Common_licence_interpretations) and send that to a publisher there might come a problem: Publishers may require either transferal/waive of copyright or a CC BY license - neither of these options seems to work with the OSM license, AFAIU.

Would there be any possible way out?


First of all, note that you link to a page describing their old (pre-2012) license. They have updated Legal FAQ and License and Legal FAQ pages now. Furthermore, they have a bunch of examples on how their data has been used in research already (though a lot of them seem to be various theses). See also this question on OpenStreetMap's help forums.

The main point is that their data, and their maps, fall under their license. If you include them in a paper, they request proper attribution. If you do that, I don't see it as being different from reusing a previously published figure with permission, which would be a reproduction of the figure, without transfer of copyright. Maybe specific journals/publishers would have a policy against this, but in my experience most should be fine with it, as it's standard academic practice.


Talk to a published about this. If it's an issue, then you make a map in OSM, recreate the map in ArcMap, and then publish the ArcMap version. IIRC, ArcMAP permits the use of OSM, and includes some kind of disclaimer or accreditation. Whatever deal OSM/ESRI have figured out, you should clearly be able to publish the map created in ESRI. If reviewers squawk, explain why you were forced to do this.

  • It makes less sense to me to recreate the map in a third-party program in my specific case as the map is a screenshot of a web application that uses Wikimedia-based tiler for OpenStreetMap rendering. The primary reason to include the map is to show the ability of the web application, - rather than to show the map as a map. May 25 '18 at 15:43

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