I found a chart in another publication that I'd like to cite, however it's small and is a dot plot when it should be a line plot (I guess because the data points were non-contiguous and the authors wanted to show that). Would it be wrong/plagiarism-adjacent if I re-rendered the plot with the original data, and cited the original research as well? Is there anything else I'm not considering?

EDIT: The chart is licensed under Apache 2.0

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    Kind of sounds like the authors were right and it should be a dot plot :) Lines are overused...
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:53
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    Remember that a line plot shows a continuous function, i.e. it shows what values the function should take in the points in between the data. If those points don't exist, then your plot is a bad representation of your data, and therefore, should not be a line plot. You don't make a line plot a surface plot, and you don't make a scatter plot a line plot, these are bad data representation. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


Note that the following was written prior to the edit of the question giving the license. I'll leave the answer for future readers so that they are sure to consider all the necessary factors.

You don't seem to be considering copyright. If the copyright is held by another and there isn't a license for what you want to do then you need to ask permission.

The problem with plots and figures is that they can carry a lot of information so the issues are a bit different from quoting a few words when you reuse (or re-do) a figure. That is, fair use has a more restrictive meaning, especially for an important figure.

Note that what you are creating is likely a derived work, and most copyright jurisdictions give those rights to the copyright holder.

A citation will save you from plagiarism charges, but copyright is a different issue.

  • The chart is licensed with Apache 2.0 which allows for modification and redistribution as long as a copyright notice is included, so copyright is not an issue for me Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 22:06
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    @Buffy are you talking about the copyright to the chart specifically, or to the whole cited publication (including the data)? Does the copyright usually cover the underlying data as well, or just the specific presentation (i.e., the dot plot)? If OP is deriving work not from the chart but from the underlying data, does it still matter? (I'm not questioning your answer, just want to clarify some things. Good answer =D)
    – justhalf
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 6:04
  • @justhalf, copyright covers creative expression, not ideas, and not things that aren't part of that expression. The data can only be copyrighted if it is published and has creative elements. You can't copyright "42".
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 10:31

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