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Does anyone have experience with re-using their own figure from IEEE conference proceedings, which have not yet been published for another conference (not IEEE)?

I have contacted IEEE but have not yet received a useful answer. Usually with IEEE getting permission for copyrighted work is very simple. However, if the paper is not yet published on xplore.ieee.org/ then there is no standard procedure, and I was hoping someone already had to get permission for a not yet published figure.


I finally received an email from IEEE including the permission. To get there, I contacted all contacts that are listed on the standard reply one gets when messaging [email protected].

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    Take a safe path, do not reuse, make a new one.
    – quantacad
    Dec 9, 2021 at 21:33
  • Why re-use something when you know sooner or later you will sign-off on its copyright? Jan 10, 2022 at 0:12
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    @prof.SantaClaus I am not sure if I understand your question. I reused the figure since I could not really change it and it was necessary/benefitial for the understanding of my paper. Jan 10, 2022 at 10:36

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From a purely scientific context you can always cite a figure the same way you quote verbatim text. This guide might be helpful for citing figures.

Now on the other hand, there is also the aspect of legal copyright. As such it is important know where you plan to re-use it. By submitting your work to IEEE and signing their copyright transfer form, you gave the ownership of that figure to IEEE. This applies regardless on whether your accepted paper is already available on IEEE Xplore or not. If your intended re-use will be at IEEE you should be fine, since they have the rights on that figure and there will be no conflict (you should still cite it though). If you are planing to use it for your thesis or a journal or conference at another publisher I would recommend to re-do it (still add a reference to the original).

PS: For a legally binding answer you should consult a lawyer. If in doubt follow quantum's comment and take the safe path.

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  • Sorry, I think my question wasn't precise enough. Usually with IEEE getting permission for copyrighted work is very simple. However, if the paper is not yet published on xplore.ieee.org/ then there is no standard procedure, and I was hoping someone already had to get permission for a not yet published figure. Dec 10, 2021 at 14:39
  • Guess you will have to write them an email then. See ieee.org/publications/rights/reqperm.html : "If you are not able to use the RightsLink service, permission licensing may also be obtained through www.copyright.com. If you experience difficulty with the RightsLink service, please contact the customer care group at [email protected] or write to IEEE Publications at [email protected]."
    – exocore
    Dec 14, 2021 at 11:20
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    As I updated my question writing multiple emails and being persistent (or patient) worked. Inititally, I received numerous emails telling me to follow standard procedure, but in the end I was given instructions on how to cite the figure (including copyright sign and so on, but I won't post this since this is maybe case-specific). Dec 15, 2021 at 10:17

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