For a conference paper, I created an image compiling data from multiple sources. What is the correct format for acknowledging the sources?

Map showing road condition (Data source: Esri, OpenStreetMap) or,

Map showing road condition (Data sources: Esri, OpenStreetMap)

In most of the literature, I observed authors commonly using 'source' when they mean 'sources'. Shouldn't it be 'sources'?

  • Unless there is some standard that I am unaware of in a domain specific application, either should be fine. Such semantic details are unlikely to affect the validity of your paper. In fact, if they do, someone needs to settle down. – Vladhagen Nov 30 '18 at 23:41
  • I had to look at it three times to see the difference. I think few would notice and fewer would care. – Buffy Dec 28 '19 at 12:18

As long as you give proper credit to all images you’ve used and have not violated their terms of use, I see no reason why anyone would mind (or notice!) a little ‘s’.

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  • While I agree with your statement here, I would like to add that I think the question is within the scope of this stackexchange site. – Phil Dec 3 '18 at 9:37

As others have pointed out, the choice is likely arbitrary since it will not affect the readability of your article much.

If you want to keep the formulation as is, I would personally go with "Data sources" as I think it makes more linguistic sense. If I would ask the reader to check out two published articles, I would write: "see the papers by Uncle Tom Cobley (1889) and Alan Smithee (1968)" and not "see the paper by Uncle Tom Cobley (1889) and Alan Smithee (1968).". Similarly, I would write "see the data sources Esri and OpenStreetMap" and not "see the data source Esri and OpenStreetMap".

However, one possible workaround would be to side-step the issue by chosing a different formulation. For instance, perhaps by writing "Data from", or just simply "Data".

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