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Licensing Policy Based on user and funder feedback, and to maximize library growth and usage, The Cell offers a variety of licensing options for selection by submitters. We welcome comments and feedback on these policies. Please contact David Orloff (, Director, Cell Image Library. Our goals include allowing for the most effective use of the data (without attribution, large data sets can be used easily, furthering scientific discovery), and reaching the greatest number of users.
Published Images Please note: While The Cell welcomes previously published images, if you are submitting images that have previously been published, you must have the right to distribute the image or the licensing of the publishing journal must allow for it. Please check with your publisher to determine if this is the case. Many publishers, like the ASCB, which publishes the Molecular Biology of the Cell, allow authors to retain copyright. However, even these publishers may limit distribution of the work. These limitations could relate to intended use (commercial and/or educational), alteration, and attribution. Publishers may also choose to use a Creative Commons license that allows for some types of re-use without permission. Authors should confirm the rights they have related to published images before selecting the appropriate option.
Unpublished Images If you have not published the images you wish to contribute, and you hold the copyright, you may select one of the licenses described in the Licensing section below.
License Conditions Creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work.
  1. Pd

    Public Domain

    The Public Domain Mark is for works that are no longer restricted by copyright and can be freely used by others.

  2. Attribution_cc_by

    Attribution (by)

    This requires that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.

  3. Attribution_nc_sa

    ShareAlike (sa)

    This allows others to copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.

  4. Attribution_nc_sa

    NonCommercial (nc)

    This let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen NoDerivatives) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

  5. Attribution_nc_sa

    NoDerivatives (nd)

    This lets others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

  6. Copyright

    This requires others get your permission for any use of the work.

For more information please see the Creative Commons website at

The Cell Image Library allows for the combination of the above license conditions as noted below. These options will be available during image submission. The license you choose will then be noted in The Cell on the detailed image page.

  1. Pd

    Public Domain

    Public Domain – If you own the copyright and want to dedicate the work to the public domain use this one. If you want to certify that the work is already in the public domain (for example, because all authors are U.S. Federal Employees) use this one.

  2. Attribution_cc_by

    Creative Commons; Attribution Required

  3. Attribution_nc_sa

    Creative Commons; Attribution Required; NonCommercial; ShareAlike

  4. Attribution_nc_sa

    Creative Commons; Attribution Required; NonCommercial; NoDerivatives

  5. Copyright

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