I’m giving a public talk (to laypeople in a sci-com event) and wanted to showcase some figures from research papers that weren’t mine. I wanted to know:

  1. If putting citations (Author, Year) followed by a final slide of references was acceptable, or;
  2. Do I need to have “Copyright [journal name]”, or;
  3. Do I need to get permission from author/publisher, or;
  4. ls such a thing even allowed outside of academic conferences

Do the answers to the above questions change if the journal is open access or behind a paywall?


1 Answer 1


You can use all this information in a public talk. You should tell your audience where it comes from, but the details don't need to be part of the ongoing presentation. Consider a handout so that they can go look for themselves if they are curious.

The fact that some of the information is behind a paywall does not prevent you from referring to it, as long as you obtained it legally and do not quote large parts of it.

You do not need any permissions. It might be nice to write the authors to tell them that you used their work in your talk.

+1 for sci-com.

  • 2
    Doesn't this depend on the country? "Full-figure citations" are not covered under Germany's laws w.r.t the allowed re-use of materials. There are exceptions for classroom use, but in a public talk, I think that they don't apply. So a permission from the publisher would be necessary for a public talk, as far as I know.
    – DCTLib
    Jun 5, 2020 at 18:40
  • @DCTLib I assumed US, perhaps mistakenly. In any case I doubt that a full figure on a slide in a public talk would require the kind of permission necessary to republish. But this isn't a legal opinion, just my experience of common ethical academic practice. Jun 5, 2020 at 18:56

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