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I need some help understanding how to cite scientific literature, text and images.

Good Stack Exchange answers should usually contain both links to supporting sources in order to avoid being unsupported, and also have bits of those sources within the answer itself in order to avoid being link-only answers.

Each post will be a different case, but here's one that's left me flummoxed. In this answer I draw from the results of a published scientific paper and in order to best inform readers about the scope of the paper and what's available there I include the abstract in block quotes.

In order to specifically address the question I also have a screen shot of one of the figures. I've used a copy of the paper that has been archived at the University of Rome rather than the copy available from the Journal.

Question(s):

  1. Are these okay as-is?
  2. If so or if not, can someone help me know what the new rules are in plain language that I can understand, remember, and easily apply in future cases like this?
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No, this is not ok to use without permission. In this specific case, there is a process to follow for obtaining permission to use in this way: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/hub/journal/21699356/permissions. You would need to make sure your request explicitly mentioned your intent to use within a Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 licensed post on Stack Exchange.

In general, there is a very easy rule to remember. If an image is not explicitly marked as free to redistribute, then it is not ok to use here without requesting permission to use in this case from the content owner. Images to which you were granted the right to use personally are also not ok to use unless you request explicit permission to use in this case. Any media that is your own property you are free to share here, keeping in mind that by sharing here you license the content under CC BY-SA 4.0, which means you cannot revoke anyone's right to use that media under the terms of that license.

There are some special cases worth mentioning. In general, U.S. government works, including works by NASA, are free to use, but there are exceptions. You should probably peruse the guidelines here: https://www.usa.gov/government-works, https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/guidelines/index.html, and https://www.sti.nasa.gov/disclaimers/

When in doubt, throw it out. Never include content that you are unsure of your right to use.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'll remove the image now, is the quoted abstract okay? What about the quoted figure caption? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 12 at 4:20
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh The quotes are clearly marked and seem to be small enough to be covered under the right of quotation. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Apr 12 at 4:23
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    $\begingroup$ i.e. those should be fine $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Apr 12 at 4:23

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