Image publishing for scientific publications: A Project with Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. and the Cluster of Excellence SimTech of the University of Stuttgart

Initial position

For scientific publications, visual material is often used to illustrate research results. These are, for example, illustrations, computer graphics from simulations, or photos that serve as supporting documents. The creators, however, are rarely indicated. While indicating the authors is standard for books or, much more frequently, for publications in journals, this is not done for the visual material used if it is produced on one’s own. Even in the case of material from third parties, there is uncertainty regarding subsequent use and the indication of licensing and author information. In many cases, the source situation is precarious. In the case of Closed Access publications in scientific publishing, exclusive rights of use to the images are transferred to the publisher making it difficult to use them for other publications and incurring usage fees.

Solution approach

The creators publish their visual material via Wikimedia Commons and have all the liberties for their own subsequent use with the free CC BY-SA or CC BY license. As a central, freely usable Open Access repository, scientists can find the material via the metadata and are supported in downloading it for copyright-compliant use. Beyond the scientific community, there is the added value of usage for everyone.  The requirement for acceptance in science is an easy, fast publication workflow (which is basically given with the upload assistant at Commons) as well as a work-sharing procedure that allows the publication by editors who are not creators themselves.

Alternatively, the data repository of the University of Stuttgart (DaRUS) is used for data and their postprocessing in the form of images.

Workflows to make work easier

In order to check out the solution , interested scientists and institutes are invited to test the workflows proposed in the relevant handout.  Please contact us if you have any comprehension questions or problems.

This image shows Sibylle Hermann

Sibylle Hermann


Publication Services (Head of Department), Academic Liaison Librarian,
Coordinator Research Data,
Third-party Funded Projects (Project Manager), Open Science

This image shows Stefan Drößler

Stefan Drößler


Academic Liaison Librarian, Open Access Officer, Coordination Publication Server OPUS, BMBF Grants TU9_Monos, Diamond Thinking, DFG Grant Open Access Publication Costs

To the top of the page