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Citing sources according to APA guidelines

APA Style @ TiU

2.5 Reproducing figures or tables from another source

The American Psychological Association uses the collective term "figure" for all types of graphic representations other than tables (e.g. a (flow)chart, graph, photograph, drawing, infographic, etc.).

Figures and tables make it possible to present large amounts of information efficiently and make data more understandable to the reader. If it makes sense to reproduce a figure or a table from an external source into your assignment you may do so, just as you may quote verbatim from textual sources. However, you must keep the following in mind.


Reproducing figures or tables in your paper or thesis

Like any other original work, figures and tables are copyright protected unless otherwise indicated. As a student writing a paper or thesis as part of your studies, it is permissible to include a copyrighted figure or table in your work without permission from the copyright holder  (e.g., the creator or the publisher). However, the material must support your argument, and you must cite it correctly. For reproducing figures for other purposes, such as illustrating the title page of your paper, you do need permission from the copyright holder. 

Public domain

Some works are public property and can be reproduced without permission. Public domain works include:

  1. works that are not copyrighted because the copyright has expired (this happens 70 years after the creator's death), and
  2. works that have been placed in the public domain by the copyright holder. 

Although source attribution is not legally required when reproducing public domain works, it is good practice to do so.

Creative Commons licences

Millions of creators make their (creative) content available for reuse under a "Creative Commons" license. The creator thereby retains the copyright, but releases a number of rights. There are six different CC licenses in total. The most restrictive licenses contain provisions that limit or prevent commercial reuse or modification. The most "free" license allows almost any conceivable use. For all variants, attribution is required (the person using the material must name the creator, cite the source, and include the CC license).

The different licenses can be recognized by their logos. An example is the logo on the right, which represents the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivativeWork (BY-NC-ND) license. This license allows users to download the work and share it with others, but prohibits alterations and commercial use. On top of these six licenses, for works in the public domain, there is the Public Domain dedication (CC0), which does not even require attribution.

Important note for PhD’s and researchers: if you wish to reproduce or adapt figures that you did not create yourself, you must (in many cases) obtain permission from the copyright holder/s, unless the figure is in the public domain (copyright free), or licensed for use with a Creative Commons or other open license.