I found a table that exactly fits my needs but the technical nature of its contents makes paraphrasing very difficult, and in most cases impossible.

How does one create a one-to-one copy of a table, column titles and all, without committing plagiarism? Is a citation in the title enough? Placing quotation marks around the contents of every cell doesn't seem to be the proper course of action.

The closest question/answer I can find is here. Does that answer still apply here if:

  1. we're talking about protocols, standardization bodies, port numbers etc.
  2. Not two related studies using same pool of participants by the same author. Distinct authors, distinct applications, other author did great work in creating the summary table.

There are two separate issues here, which must be dealt with individually:

  • From a perspective of copyright law, you must make sure that you can obtain the right to reproduce the table at all.
  • From a perspective of scientific ethics, quoting a table is exactly like quoting a passage of text or quoting a figure. You simply need to make absolutely certain that it is clear that the table is being reproduced from somebody else's publication, and why it is more useful to the reader to reproduce the table rather than to provide a shorter summary of its contents (e.g., if you will be discussing elements of the table in detail).

I would recommend stating that the table is a reproduction in two different places:

  1. In the caption of the table itself (e.g., "Classes of frobozinator, reproduced from [Cite]")
  2. In the text where you first refer to the table (e.g., "Let us now turn to a more detailed discussion of frobozinators, as guided by the taxonomy developed in [cite]. For ease of reference, the table of classes from [cite] is reproduced in Table 5.")
  • Thank you! Your comment led me to [this][1], which contains a pretty clear method of avoiding plagiarism for a couple of use cases, and which matches your answer perfectly. Cheers! [1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Plagiarism
    – HBSKan
    Jul 29 '15 at 6:14

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