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Instructions for publishing in the series Acta Universitatis Ouluensis: - Copyright guidelines

Copyright guidelines

Acta has to ensure that all copyright related issues have been solved before publishing your work. According to Finnish law and international copyright agreements, failing to comply with the copyright terms of the publishers can constitute copyright infringement, which may lead to legal consequences. 

Copyright holders
Depending on the copyright agreement with the publisher, the copyright holder can be the publisher, you (and your co-authors) or some other instance. Find out the copyright holder(s) for each reused figure/table. The permission for reuse is typically obtained from the copyright holder(s), which are acknowledged in the corresponding figure and table captions. Note that the information in tables and figures is not protected by the copyright, but the way of presentation is. 

Permissions and terms for republishing 
Different publishers have different permission practices and terms for republishing and reuse. Please check the terms for republishing for all the material in your thesis, i.e. each original publication and their related content (figures, tables, text) and material (figures, tables, text) produced by others. Typically, the terms for republishing and reuse can be found out by following actions (see also Figure 1): 

  1. First of all, the terms for republishing should be checked from the signed copyright transfer agreements of the original publications. For example, this agreement may give permission to use the final published version of the original publication in your thesis, in contrast to license agreements or general agreements made later. 
  2. Secondly, if the copyright transfer agreement mentioned above does not accurately define the terms for republishing, the author should obtain license agreements for the content to be used in the thesis (typically figures/tables in printed or electronic form and full publication in printed form). You can obtain these agreements via RightsLink, Copyright Clearance Center or corresponding services. The license agreements may forbid the use of the final published article (even in printed form) but may allow the use of the Author Accepted Manuscript version. You should note that the terms of the license agreement may vary between different journals even within the same publisher and therefore the terms should be carefully read and followed.
  3. Thirdly, the author can ask for permission to republish directly from a publisher by email. In this case you should specify what material will be used (whole article, figures, tables, text), where it will be used and how it will be used (in printed form or in electronic form to be archived in an institutional repository).
  4. The fourth alternative is to check the publisher’s general conditions for republishing, i.e. in what form and how they allow republishing. Please note that with certain publishers, e.g. Elsevier and IEEE, who have well-established policies on this matter, this option can be used as a second approach. If you are uncertain about the general conditions, check the terms of your publication via a license agreement service as described above.

Figure 1. Steps for resolving the terms for republishing.

Acknowledgement of copyright holders and original source
Copyrights should be acknowledged prominently with each reprinted/reused figure/table (as typically required by publishers), if those have been published elsewhere. Even if you (and possibly your co-authors) are the copyright holder(s) of a figure/table published elsewhere, the original source must always be acknowledged. Even in the cases where copyrights are not clearly addressed, for example images freely available on the internet, you must have permission from the copyright holder to republish them in your work. In the cases where the material is freely distributable, such as with the Creative Commons licenses, you must acknowledge the original source as defined in the license terms (see Table below). Note also that unless you are the sole author of the paper, the copyright is owned by all the authors of the paper and not only by you. 

Figures and tables without any notations or acknowledgements will get our attention. It is good practice to create a list of figures and explain their copyrights/original sources and send that to the series editor. Basically, only figures created by you for your thesis can be included without any notation about the source. If you have not acknowledged the original source of a figure or table created by others, it can be considered plagiarism, which can have serious consequences. For further information please see:

Text citations are allowed, but the original source and page number(s) must be included. Very long quotations and an extensive number of them should be avoided. If the original source is not acknowledged, they constitute plagiarism or self-plagiarism, which is forbidden. Although, the data in tables and figures is not protected by copyright, the original source of information has to be mentioned also when you use the data in your own table/figure. 

Also, be aware that you should not acknowledge any figures/tables to be under copyright if they are not. Such a notification may give the false and misleading impression that the information presented in the figure/table has undergone the peer-review process.


Some acknowledgement examples in figure and table captions
Use of figure/table Instructions Example text in caption
Direct reuse - When figure/table is directly reused from other work, permission for reuse is required and the original source of figure/table should be acknowledged. (Reprinted, with permission, from Koga et al. 2014 © Springer).
Adaptation (minor reformatting) - When figure/table from other work is reused with minor reformatting (e.g. change of color/legend, etc.), , permission for reuse is required (permission may include terms for reformatting) and the original source should be acknowledged. (Reprinted [adapted], with permission, from Koga et al. 2014 © Springer).
(Adapted, with permission, from Koga et al. 2014 © Springer).
Modification - When figure/table is modified from other work (significant modification showing new presentation and production of new work), the original source of figure/table should be acknowledged (permission not necessarily required). (Modified from Koga et al., 2014).
Redraw - When figure/table is redrawn from other work (production of new work), the original source of figure/table should be acknowledged (permission not necessarily required). (Redrawn from Koga et al., 2014).
Reuse of own paper (compendium) - When figure/table is directly reused from your own paper, permission for reuse is required and the original source of figure/table should be acknowledged. (Reprinted, with permission, from Paper I © 2014 Springer Nature).
Modification of own paper figure/table (compendium) - When figure/table is modified from your own paper (significant modification showing new presentation and work), the original source of figure/table should be acknowledged (permission not necessarily required). (Modified from Paper I).
New figure/table - If entirely new figure/table is produced for thesis (and the copyright hasn’t been transferred), permission and acknowledgements are not required (copyright is then transferred to the University of Oulu).
Creative Commons licensed figures - If the used figure/table has been published under Creative Commons license, acknowledge the original source (and possible adaptation) according to license terms.

(Under CC BY 4.0 license from Paper III © 2017 Authors).


(Reprinted [adapted] under CC BY 4.0 license from Paper III © 2017 Authors)

These guidelines are based on the situation in November 2019. Please check your publisher’s website for possible changes to their terms.


“As a general rule, IEEE requires permission be sought to reproduce any substantial part of its intellectual property, including any text, illustrations, charts, tables, photographs, or other material from previously published sources used. IEEE also requires that all references or sources used be credited, whether or not permission is required.”

“Using short quotes or referring to the work within these papers) users must give full credit to the original source (author, paper, publication) followed by the IEEE copyright line © 2011 IEEE.

In the case of illustrations or tabular material, we require that the copyright line © [Year of original publication] IEEE appear prominently with each reprinted figure and/or table.”

Related to theses:

“You may reuse your published article in your thesis or dissertation without requesting permission, provided that you fulfill the following requirements depending on which aspects of the article you wish to reuse.

    Text excerpts: Provide the full citation of the original published article followed by the IEEE copyright line: © 20XX IEEE. If you are reusing a substantial portion of your article and you are not the senior author, obtain the senior author’s approval before reusing the text.

    Graphics and tables: The IEEE copyright line (© 20XX IEEE) should appear with each reprinted graphic and table.
    Full text article: Include the following copyright notice in the references: “© 20XX IEEE. Reprinted, with permission, from [full citation of original published article].” 

So, at the end of a caption there must be, e.g., (Reprinted, with permission, from Paper I @ 2019 IEEE), or (Reprinted, with permission, from [2] @ 2019 IEEE).


“Yes. Authors can include their articles in full or in part in a thesis or dissertation for non-commercial purposes.”

“As an Elsevier journal author, you have the right to Include the article in a thesis or dissertation (provided that this is not to be published commercially) whether in full or in part, subject to proper acknowledgment; see the Copyright page for more information.  No written permission from Elsevier is necessary.

This right extends to the posting of your thesis to your university’s repository provided that if you include the published journal article, it is embedded in your thesis and not separately downloadable.”

Note that reference must be “with a DOI link to the version of record on ScienceDirect (and with the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC- ND license for author manuscript versions)”. For CC-BY-NC, see

So, in a caption Paper I or [2] is enough, but in the list of references the reference must include a DOI. DOI is also recommended for IEEE publications.

Springer Nature License terms and conditions
To clarify the permissions you need to use the RightsLinkÒ service below for copyrighted material.

Please note that the terms may vary even within the same publisher, depending on the publication/journal.

“Springer Nature Customer Service Centre GmbH (the Licensor) hereby grants you a non-exclusive, world-wide licence to reproduce the material and for the purpose and requirements specified in the attached copy of your order form, and for no other use, subject to the conditions below:

5. Where ‘reuse in a dissertation/thesis’ has been selected the following terms apply: Print rights of the final author’s accepted manuscript (for clarity NOT the published version) for up to 100 copies, electronics rights to use only on a personal website or institutional repository as defined by the Sherpa guideline (

8. The Licensor’s permission must be acknowledged next to the licensed material in print. In electronic form, this acknowledgement must be visible at the same time as the figures/tables/illustrations or abstract, and must be hyperlinked to the journal/book’s homepage. Our required acknowledgement format is in the Appendix below.”

“Creative Commons
This is an open access article distributed under terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article.

To request permission for a type of use not listed, please contact Springer Nature.”

John Wiley & Sons Inc. 

“You are hereby granted a personal, non-exclusive, non-sub licensable (on a stand-alone basis), non-transferable, worldwide, limited license to reproduce Wiley Materials for the purpose specified in the licensing process. This license, and any CONTENT (PDF or image file) purchased as part of your order, is for a one-time use only and limited to any maximum distribution number specified in the license. The first instance of republication or reuse granted by this license must be completed within two years of the date of the grant of this license (although copies prepared before the end date may be distributed thereafter). The Wiley Materials shall not be used in any other manner or for any other purpose, beyond what is granted in the license. Permission is granted subject to an appropriate acknowledgement given to author, title of the material/book/journal and the publisher. With respect to the Wiley Materials, all rights are reserved. Except as expressly granted by the terms of the license, no part of the Wiley Materials may be copied, modified, adapted (except for minor reformatting required by the new Publication), translated, reproduced, transferred or distributed, in any form or by any means, and no derivative works may be made based on the Wiley Materials without the prior permission of the respective copyright owner.”