How should I reference images found in public domain in my thesis?

I mean, if it would be copyrighted, I would add a comment a la "reproduced with permission from X". If it would be under Creative Commons license, I would add a comment "licensed under XY license".

What about public domain? Should I add some sort of comment to make clear it is public domain? E.g. if I would like to use something from NREL website (http://www.nrel.gov/).

  • 3
    I'm confused because you talk about "referencing" images, which is about giving academic credit where it is due, but then you go on to talk about noting the license in the paper, which is about copyright. (Note that copyright and academic credit are orthogonal concerns; even if you satisfy your obligations under copyright, you still have a responsibility to credit the original source of the work.)
    – ff524
    Dec 7 '16 at 2:03

The images may still be under copyright. I think you have to contact NREL. Here's their copyright policy which states:

Copyright Status

NREL-authored documents are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC36-08GO28308. Accordingly, with respect to such documents, the U.S. Government and others acting on its behalf retain a paid-up nonexclusive, irrevocable world-wide license to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, by or on behalf of the Government. Use of documents available from or referenced by this server may be subject to U.S. and foreign Copyright Laws.

So you need to identify the source and copyright status of the document that contains the image.

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