I included two figures from book in review article. I emailed the editor and author of the chapter for permissions, but they didn't reply. I also mailed CRC publisher for permissions, but still didn't get response from them.

If I still use those figures in a review article and cite the original source, will it be legal or not?

  • 1
    In general, just because someone doesn't reply, doesn't mean you can do whatever you want.
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 19:54
  • then how to tackle this problem? Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 19:56
  • 2
    How long did you wait? To obtain the permission to include a professional's photograph in a paper, we once paid a nontrivial sum (not huge, but nontrivial). That being said, that photographer of course makes his livelihood from these photographs, while a scientific publisher most likely doesn't and one might be hopeful that they would more permissive in a scientific context - but you cannot count on that. See the case of Eric Weisstein vs. CRC. Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 20:07
  • If you're in the US, then the fair use exception to copyright may apply.
    – user1482
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


You cannot publish somebody else's copyrighted material in your own documents without a license. Typically, the copyright is held not by the authors but by the publisher, e.g., CRC Press.

For most large publishers (including CRC Press, which appears to be owned by Taylor & Francis), they have a standard procedure for obtaining permissions for republication, e.g., to include a figure as part of a review article as you wish to do. Depending on the particulars, sometimes it will cost money and sometimes it will be free. In any case, sending email will generally be pointless because they will expect you to go through the standard permissions process instead.

In this case, if you go to the CRC Press permissions page, it leads you to a general copyright licensing service, which has a "pay per use" system for obtaining, among other things, a license to:

Republish an article, book excerpt or other content in your own books, journals, newsletters and other materials

Finally, note that it is sometimes worth checking whether an alternate free version exists. For example, authors may have also previously included similar material in a US government report or other item where you can freely use the material (always with appropriate attribution, of course).

  • if i redraw the illustrations and cite inspired source then still do i have to obtain permissions? Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 20:19
  • @ZeeshanKhalid If you almost-exactly recreate the illustration, then you would still need to obtain permissions. If you recreate with the same content but in your own distinct organization and style, then you only need to explain your source and cite.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 20:21
  • You cannot publish somebody else's copyrighted material in your own documents without a license. What country's laws do you have in mind? This certainly isn't true here in the US, where a fair use exception exists.
    – user1482
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 22:44
  • @BenCrowell While you're right about the existence of the fair use, this legal doctrine is perceived by many (myself included) as a last resort option. However, in addition to fair use and normal procedure, outlined above by Jake Beal, there is a third option. For books, published under Creative Commons license, I think that it is legal and academically ethical to (properly) cite artifacts from such publications without getting specific permission (provided the paper citing that publication matches conditions of the license, e.g., CC-NC-licensed artifact is not cited in a commercial outlet). Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 1:17
  • Note that for many large publishers (though not CRC) there is a reciprocal permission scheme - you need to ask as a formality but costs are generally waived. Participants - stm-assoc.org/copyright-legal-affairs/permissions/… Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 7:58

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