In the context material chapter of my masters dissertation, between other things, I must write about the state of the art on the thematic presented. There are some very expressive and simple schemes in other authors works that I would like to use. I was wondering: is it legitimate if I create schemes by myself that convey the same structure and information and reference the sources in the following manner: "Image based on [Reference]" ?. The result would be different looking (colors, shapes, and several other visual elements) schemes that would express the same content.

I've looked at How much do figures need to differ to avoid copyright claims? but I wasn't sure if the context of that question is enough for the answers to apply for me.


1 Answer 1


No, I think it would be insufficient to say : "Image based on [Reference]".

Because, from what you've written, it's not just the image you're using: you're also using the intellectual content that is the structure and information.

So, not only do you need to cite your reference for the image, but you also need to credit the origin of the structure and the information explicitly in its own right.

So do say:

Image based on [Reference]

And also say something like (using the example of the image being a classification of the existing literature):

In creating this classification, I have followed the classification scheme set out in [Reference], using information from [Reference] and [other Reference]

  • 1
    While this makes perfect sense, I don't quite see how different it is from writing a paragraph that expresses the same ideas of a paragraph in other work using a different wording. (and conventionally, when people do that they just mention the reference)
    – jmacedo
    Feb 5, 2014 at 18:38

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