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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, Image Library, with your feedback and concerns. 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. Information on some publishers' licenses is provided here for your convenience. Please note that many journals have a waiting period before images may be used.
Publication Waiting Period Licensing
Journal of Cell Biology None

Attribution, Non-commercial, Share-alike

Molecular Biology of the Cell Two months after publication date

Pre-September 2010 – Copyright Protected

Post-September 2010 – Attribution, Non-commercial, Share-alike

PLoS Journals None


PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) Six months after publication date

Pre-2010 - Copyright Protected

2010 and later - Author's choice. Journal must be cited.

Please check back for additional publications. More journals will be added when licensing arrangements are clarified.
Unpublished Images If you have not published the images you wish to contribute, and you hold the copyright, you may select one of the licenses described in the Licensing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.
Licenses 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. This will allow anyone to use or alter the image any way desired, including for commercial purposes.

    The person or persons who have associated work with this document (the "Dedicator" or "Certifier") hereby either (a) certifies that, to the best of his knowledge, the work of authorship identified is in the public domain of the country from which the work is published, or (b) hereby dedicates whatever copyright the dedicators holds in the work of authorship (the "Work") to the public domain.

    Learn more
  2. Attribution_cc_by

    Creative Commons; Attribution Required; Alteration, Dissemination and Commercial Use Allowed

    Creative Commons; Attribution Required; Alteration, Dissemination and Commercial Use Allowed – If you own the copyright and want to make sure that any use of the work is credited to you, then use this one. This will also allow others to distribute, alter, and use the work commercially.

    This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.

    View License Deed | View Legal Code
  3. Attribution_nc_sa

    Creative Commons; Attribution Required; Commercial Use Prohibited

    Creative Commons; Attribution Required; Commercial Use Prohibited – If you own the copyright, want to be credited for all uses, but do not wish to allow commercial uses, use this one. This will also allow others to distribute and alter the work. All users must then distribute the work and any modified works with these same conditions.

    This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work and they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new work based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.

    View License Deed | View Legal Code
  4. Copyright

    Copyrighted. Use requirements to be specified upon request of the copyright holder.– If you own the copyright and want to continue to control use of your work, but grant permission to use it in The Cell only, use this one.

    This image/video/animation is copyright-protected. Any public or private use of this image is subject to prevailing copyright laws. Please contact the content provider of this image for permission requests.

Disclaimer Any company, product and service names used in this web site are for identification purposes only. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The Cell: An Image Library™ contents do not imply endorsement of any commercial or private product, service, or activity by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the Cell personnel and subawardees, contributors, or funders. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), NCMIR, or ASCB.