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Find and use images

Geological survey of Ronneby well from 1882. Illustration.
Geological survey of Ronneby well from 1882. Retrieved from License: PDM 1.0 Deed.

Using images that are not your own

All images, figures, tables and photos – including you own – are protected by copyright. Therefore, you need to have permission from the copyright holder if you want to use someone elses work in your own text or project. Another option is to use illustrations that are freely available, for example materials where the copyright has expired or have a Creative Commons license. Learn more about Creative Commons and how it works under the headline Creative Commons licences below.

A film about handling the use of images correctly, created by the Biology Library.


Get permission

Who the copyright holder for an image is can vary. If an image has been published in a book or journal, the publisher may hold the economic rights, while the creator retains the moral rights to the work. If you are uncertain, consider contacting both the publisher and the original creator. For images published in scientific journals, there might be a form available on the journal’s website that allows you to easily request permission to use the image.

When making your request, keep the following in mind:

  1. Clearly specify the context and purpose for which the image will be used.
  2. Obtain written permission that you can keep as a record.
  3. Remember that an image may have multiple copyright holders.

Once you have obtained permission from the copyright holder to use an image, you must also acknowledge it in your work. You can do this either by including it in the image caption or on the title page of your work. The choice depends on the referencing style you use in your text and any specific conventions within your field. If you are unsure, ask your supervisor or instructor.

Creative Commons licences

A Creative Commons licence is a special agreement used when an author wants to give other people the right to copy, share, or use their work. There are six standard Creative Commons licences that permit reuse under various conditions. Some Creative Commons licences allow free reuse as long as the author is credited, while others have a range of restrictions.

About Creative Commons licences –

Creative Commons licence image search –

Bonus copyright

As a student at Lund University you are covered by a copying agreement with Bonus Copyright Access. This means that it is permissible for students to copy limited portions of a work for use in their studies. The agreement also provides the possibility to copy, download and share copyrighted images, as long as this is done within the framework for a course or a teaching session. Contact Cajsa Andersson or Britta Smångs for more information.

Cajsa Andersson: cajsa [dot] andersson [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se (cajsa[dot]andersson[at]science[dot]lu[dot]se)
Britta Smångs: britta [dot] smangs [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se (britta[dot]smangs[at]science[dot]lu[dot]se)

Bonus Copyright Access (Swedish only)

Image database for Lund University students

The Library of Science recommends that students wishing to use particular images should use the Britannica ImageQuest database. All images in Britannica ImageQuest may be used by Lund University students for private study and non-commercial research.

Image database Britannica ImageQuest