I am writing a paper which will eventually include several of (my own) computer-generated illustrations. However, I have found a similarly-styled image in another paper (not mine) which clearly and attractively explains a preliminary point that I am trying to make.

Is it appropriate to use this image (with credit, of course) as an inset in my own paper? I am genuinely not sure. I have heard of people who avoid this practice so much that they will reproduce almost exactly the same image on their own, but I am not sure if this is strictly necessary.

  • Can you refer readers to the figure in the other paper, instead of including it in yours, without degrading the point you are making?
    – kjacks21
    Commented Apr 12, 2020 at 18:18
  • Yes, I can refer to it. That is probably the best way -- thanks for the suggestion. Also, yes, that topic helps, thank you for bringing it to my attention.
    – MathIsArt
    Commented Apr 12, 2020 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


You are writing a paper for publication: No

You are writing a paper for a class: Yes (If you cite appropriately)

  • Please explain what is wrong with using the other author's image properly referenced.
    – JeremyC
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 21:47
  • @JeremyC In a fistfight between copyright and 'proper reference' copyright wins every time. I'd also assume as a reviewer or reader that if you're too lazy to do your own images the rest of your work is lazy too.
    – user120011
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 22:03
  • I understand the point about copyright. What I meant by properly referenced included permission from the copyright holder. What would then be the point in trying to reproduce those images? Obviously, to understand the original author's work one would have sought to reproduce them but that does not necessarily mean that one's own reproductions should replace the originals - or does it?
    – JeremyC
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 21:26

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