please help me, and any advice would be greatly appreciated here.

I have published a paper with my advisor in a journal, which is one ACS publications. Recently I just published another paper on RSC journals.

Problem is for the most recent accepted journal paper, I used a figure from my previous publication. I mean, I didn't directly copy and paste the figure. The figure was revised, but I'd say they are still 90% similar. Because I thought that figure is mine, so I didn't get copyright permission from ACS first. But I cited the figure, referencing this figure is from my previous paper.

But these two figures are not the key part. They belong to "Model and method" part, which are used to illustrate the Model.

So I wonder that is there any way that I can make this mistake up? Like writing a correction or corrigendum? Please help, I just started my research career, and I don't want my career to be destroyed because of this.

  • Is this figure displaying data or is it an illustration? Jun 28, 2020 at 9:20
  • Probably it's better to follow the advice of the second editor instead of our advice. Jun 28, 2020 at 9:21
  • It is just an illustration to the model. It has nothing to do with the method part. Jun 28, 2020 at 9:29
  • Did the new figure contain fresh data? Or the 10% change is just formatting.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 28, 2020 at 9:53
  • It contains some more data, but that figure belongs to "Method" part. So, to be honestly, I'd say formatting are basically same, but I just added more data. But I referenced this figure belonging to a previously published paper Jun 28, 2020 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


One should see the two figures to be sure.

However, giving the fact that

  1. you properly cite the previous paper and especially that

  2. you have modified a picture that you have already previously produced

means that no action is required.

While 1) is the correct practice to avoid a kind of (if one really look for it) self plagiarism, or anyway makes clear that part of the data were already published, 2) means that the figure is not reproduce and thus no need of permission.

This case also illustrates that plagiarism and copyright issues overlap but are not the same things, which is often not that clear in several entries in this SE site.

  • Thanks so much !! You know, I was super worried about this. I feel much better now. I do revise the figure. Of course, I will be more cautious in my future. Thank you again. Jun 28, 2020 at 9:38
  • To be a bit clearer, the new file should look graphically different. Obviously a simple xy trace opens caveats... Still, these things are experienced by a lot of authors and everyone is aware.
    – Alchimista
    Jun 28, 2020 at 9:45
  • 1
    Yes, they look totally different at a first glance. I am not sure if I need to publish a correction about this. Because we used the same model, so I just made minor changes. Thanks for your clarification. Jun 28, 2020 at 11:25
  • No you don't as far I can see from here
    – Alchimista
    Jun 28, 2020 at 18:40
  • 2
    +1, I agree there is unlikely to be an issue, but I recommend discussing this with your advisor.
    – cag51
    Jun 29, 2020 at 3:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .