Let's say I create an image which illustrates the ideas of others as part of a paper I write for university class work (so it's not about anything I want to publish).

A simple example: Foo Bar says in their paper: We have a state machine with states A, B, and C.

I want to summarize their idea in my paper, but they do not have a graphic to illustrate it, so I create a graphic for my paper looking like this:

A --> B --> C
  • Do I need to cite it? My text makes it clear that this is not my idea (and it properly cites Foo Bar), but just looking at the graphic, this isn't clear.
  • If so, how would I cite it? Would "Graphic Title (based on [Foo Bar, 2016])" work? Is "based on" strong enough to indicate that this is not a graphic created by Foo Bar or a graphic based on a graphic by Foo Bar? Would "based on work by [Foo Bar]" be better? Or is there some standard for this situation that I'm not aware of?

This question is similar to How to cite a rebuilt graphic, but not a duplicate, as I did not rebuild a graphic, but build a graphic based on a description.

1 Answer 1


You could add a note to the figure caption as follows:

Figure X: [figure_caption ...] (This figure is based on work by Foo Bar 2016).

In addition to the citation in your text, you can also add a proper citation in this note (using your citation style of choice).

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