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Permissions, copyright and plagiarism

All authors should be familiar with the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement, and how to avoid them

Plagiarism is using other people's original work without crediting them as the source. You can avoid plagiarism by always citing the source of any material you use that is not your own, such as data in a table, quotations, research conclusions, and the like.

Copyright infringement, or copyright violation, is using copyrighted material without getting permission.You can avoid copyright infringement by getting permission from the copyright holder to use copyrighted materials, such as a non-UC photo, drawing, table, or other material for your manuscript. See the guidance below.

Please contact Jim Downing or Cynthia Kintigh with any questions.

UC ANR Publications permissions guidance for figures (photos, illustrations, charts) and tables

Authors are responsible for acquiring permission to republish copyrighted figures and tables. Publishing copyrighted material without proper permission exposes the University of California to liability.

Permissions: Three cases

No permission needed

Permission is not needed if the figure or table is: copyright UC Regents; a previously unpublished creation of one of the authors; published by the federal government or the State of California; (see this site for the copyright status of documents published by other state governments: http://copyright.lib.harvard.edu/states/); or uncopyrighted (in general, assume that material is copyrighted unless you have evidence that it is not; the absence of a © symbol does not ensure that the material is not copyrighted).

Licensed content – provide information on the terms of the license

Publishers may license content for republication under certain terms, for instance by specifying a Creative Commons license. Images may include license terms in the captions (Creative Commons license abbreviations begin with “CC”, e.g. “CC BY-ND 4.0”); or, the license terms may appear elsewhere on the website or in the publication. If the license terms allow for republication of the content for non-commercial purposes, then UC ANR may publish it – please provide us with the license language and the URL where it can be found. If the license terms do not allow for republication for non-commercial purposes, then we cannot publish it, unless the copyright holder explicitly provides permission (see below).

All other cases – provide documented permission

In all other cases, the author must seek permission from the copyright holder (the publisher of the material, unless otherwise indicated) and provide documentation of the permission granted. See the attached file for boilerplate text to use when requesting permission. Email documentation is sufficient.

Directions for documenting permissions for figures and tables

Use the boilerplate text below when contacting the copyright holder. It is important to use these letters — even when requesting permission from colleagues for unpublished materials — so that the owner knows what rights are being granted.

For published materials, the copyright holder of an image is generally either the publisher or a person or entity specified in the figure or table caption. If in doubt, try contacting the publisher first.

For unpublished materials created by a person other than the author (for example, a colleague or an extension client), the author should seek written permission from that person. Examples of such materials include figures or photos used in presentations or in informal communications but otherwise unpublished.

In some cases, the copyright holder will require a fee for the right to republish the figure or table. Such fees are the author’s responsibility.

Collect the permission documentation for all figures and tables and provide it to UC ANR Publications. Collect all of the permissions for your chapter or publication into a single Word document. Start each new permission entry on a new page. Provide the image number in question in bold text, followed by the text of the permission. In most cases, permission will be granted in the form of an email – copy and paste the full email text, including the header information (sender, date, etc), into the Word document.  If you receive a permission as a PDF, save the PDF with a descriptive name (e.g. “FigureXX_permission”), make reference to that PDF in the Word document, and provide us with the PDF.

For more information

UC copyright information page: https://copyright.universityofcalifornia.edu/index.html

A nice summary on the topic from NYU: https://guides.nyu.edu/c.php?g=276785&p=1845972


Permissions Request Email Boilerplate


Dear [copyright holder]

I am writing to request permission to reprint the following material from your publication:

Author/Title/Date of publication:

Description of Photo/Chart/Illustration/Table:

Pages as they appear in your publication, and/or URL:

Other identifying information and remarks:

This material is to appear [“as originally published” or specify any modifications, such as “as redrawn by a staff designer”] in the following work that University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR, anrcatalog.ucanr.edu) is preparing for publication:


[format: paperback book and/or online publication]

[author or technical editor(s)]

Scheduled for publication in [scheduled pub date].

We request nonexclusive world rights, as part of our volume only, in all languages and for all editions.

If you are the copyright holder, may I have your permission to reprint the above material? If you do not indicate otherwise, UC ANR will use the usual scientific format of acknowledgment, including publisher, author, editor, etc. If you are not the copyright holder, or if additional permission is needed, please let me know.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


[author name]


To grant permission, please reply to this message, entering your name and title, along with the date, below:

The above request is hereby approved on the conditions specified below, and on the understanding that full credit will be given to the source.

Name and Title:


Conditions, if any:


[end of boilerplate text]