When you are looking for great images to communicate about science, the internet is a treasure trove. But it is easy to overstep legal and ethical boundaries.
This article is the first in a series aimed at helping you enhance your #scicomm and #sciart by avoiding #visualplagiarism. It will do so by laying out some best practices for dealing with images (which are, by their nature) visual intellectual property protected by copyrights.
Please chime in, in the comments or by contacting me, if you have suggestions for how to enhance this article or the series.
DEFINITIONS & TIPS FOR ETHICAL AND LEGAL IMAGE USE
After all, something like 50% of our brains are keyed in to visual stimuli. And, more than ever, compelling images are easy to find on the internet. That makes the internet a powerful #VisualSciComm tool.
However, like most tools, how you use the internet to source images can have serious implications — in this case for your outreach, reputation, and efficacy.
No matter the use — presenting during a lab meeting, to a public audience, in a classroom, at a conference, or communicating via websites, news agencies, press offices, and social media — using images ethically and legally is an important part of the #scicomm and #sciart process.
To help you do this, this article series is comprised of several sections: Definitions and Tips (covered today). As the series continues, we’ll also talk about Top Image Sources, How to find the creator/copyright holder of an image you want to use, Working with an illustrator, and Creating your own images.