I am writing an epidemiology paper for an academic journal, and would like to have a figure showing the map of a geographical region of interest.

My current map was generated with OpenStreetMap data, from the get_stamenmap function provided by the ggmap package in R.

However, such maps have copyrights, and they won't be accepted by most academic journals I am interested in publishing in. Does anyone know some good tools to produce pretty, copyright-free maps and possibly programmatically? Bonus points if they are produced through R.

I would also appreciate any other map-related hints or suggestions.

  • You can google "copyright free maps". Are there features missing from these that you must have?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 11:23
  • Thanks for the answer! I would like to add some pins to the maps at custom (latitude, longitude) cohordinates. Ideally this would be done programmatically, but in the worst case scenario I could manually add them
    – A-B-izi
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 12:07
  • 6
    Having to credit someone is very unlikely to be a bar to publishing. I would make sure this is actually the case Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 13:38
  • 7
    I agree fully with @NicolasFormichella - OpenStreetMaps tells you what you do to use a map generated using their data. You credit it in a footnote as they state. Perhaps you should (a) see how other people's maps are created/credited, and (b) ask the journal how they want it handled.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 13:51
  • There is even an example in the copyright page, on how to fullfil the credit requirement for printed works Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 15:22

2 Answers 2


As noted in the comments, this is a non-issue because Openstreetmap allows reusing maps with the only requirement to add a notice, for instance in a footnote or in the acknowledgments. So OP can continue using those maps, and they will be accepted by academic journals.


Leaflet is an OpenSource JavaScript Library to make and publish maps. You can use Leaflet through Python using folium library or with R.

  • Leaflet will still need to source data, so attribution/copyright is still an issue.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 23:30

You must log in to answer this question.

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