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Licensing text and photos

Last updated: November 6, 2023.

You can license our photos, artworks, and text. It's very quick and simple—and here's how you do it.

Using our photos and artworks

Noncommercial use

For the avoidance of doubt, please note that our definition of "noncommercial" means you may not charge a fee for access to any printed or electronic publication (including a website or other online system) that includes our work, charge a fee for the use of our work, use it in any paid-for publication (whether commercial, educational, or whatever), use it to sell, endorse, or promote any product or service, use it as part of providing any kind of commercial service, or earn any money from it by advertising or any other means whatosever, irrespective of whether you make a profit.

Most of the photos and artworks on this site exclusively watermarked "" are ones we have created and to which we own the rights. You're very welcome to use and reuse them for free, for noncommercial purposes only, under the terms of the Creative Commons NC-SA license. For noncommercial purposes, you don't need to ask permission to use images we have created, but it is a legal requirement that you attribute the images properly: please kindly ensure you credit You don't need to link to this website (if you want to do so, that's entirely up to you).

Please note that if you create modified versions of our images ("derivative works"), you are legally obliged (under the terms of the license) to release them under the same license—in other words, to allow other people to use them in the same way that we have. So you may not create derivative works and then sell them on to other people, for example.

Commercial use

We can license any of our photos or artworks for commercial use either online or offline. The precise licensing fee is negotiable and varies according to how and where you want to use an image (for example, how big it will be on the page), the type of use you intend (commercial or educational), your print run, and so on. We will happily customize our "how-it-works" artworks to your precise requirements and we can often redraw low-resolution artworks in high-resolution (typically 300 dpi). We can supply artworks with or without text labels/numbering, as you wish.

We price hi-res artworks individually according to their complexity (how long they took to draw) and any extra work you'd like us to do to them (priced per hour). If you're a commercial publisher and you license your own artworks and photographs, we will look up your licensing fees and typically charge you no less than you charge other people for similar material.

If you decide to license an image, we supply the image itself in whatever electronic format you wish (such as TIFF, JPG, XCF for GIMP, or PSD for Photoshop), a signed permissions form listing the rights we have agreed, and an invoice in your chosen currency. You may pay electronically (by SWIFT or PayPal) or by check.

If you'd like to use our photos or artworks, please let us know your requirements and we'll generally reply within 24 hours.

Using our text

Educational use

Since this website is all about science education, we're happy to discuss requests for limited reuse of text from this website in educational books and other materials, but not normally in other publicly accessible websites (ebooks and private, accessed-control websites are usually okay). Please send us details of your publication, intended audience, publishing territories, approximate print run (initial and/or lifetime), publisher, and anything else you think might be relevant, and specific details of the material you'd like to use, and we'll let you know what's possible (usually the same day). Please note that if we judge your use is commercial (according to the definition above), or you are printing in high volume, we will charge a licensing fee. If you're a recognized nonprofit organization (such as a 501(c) in the United States or a registered charity in the UK), we don't normally charge unless you intend to print in high volume. If you're a small, primarily educational publisher, or an individual, printing in low-volume, we will usually offer a substantial discount on the licensing fee or (sometimes) waive it altogether. Either way, you must contact us for written permission before using any material.

Commercial use

We will happily consider licensing material for use in commercial printed publications, such as books, magazines, and newspapers, although not normally for online use on other websites; please email us with your requirements. Our normal licensing fees are calculated at a rate of GBP £350 per 1000 words with a minimum fee of typically GBP £150 depending on the media, territories, and print volume.

It is very important that you seek permission for use of our copyright material in advance. If you use our material without permission and then seek permission retrospectively, we calculate our fees at a rate of GBP £500 per 1000 words with a minimum fee of GBP £250. If you use all (or more than half) an article without permission, we will calculate the licensing fee based on the length of the article's body text as it's published on this website (excluding the "Find out more" section but including any notes or references), rather than the length of the extract you've used—since you will have effectively created a substitute for, and devalued, the original article.

On other websites

We do not permit our articles to be reused or reprinted on other websites without permission and we do not normally syndicate to other websites. All our text is protected by international copyright laws and articles from this site are registered at the US Copyright Office. We do not tolerate misuse of our copyright material and we routinely scan for copyright infringement. We will take action against unlawfully copied material whenever we find it and vigorously pursue all legal remedies available to us. Please be aware that "willful" copyright infringement can involve severe financial and even criminal penalties (in the United States, for example, possible "remedies" are specified in US Code Title 17, Chapter 5, §504, §505, §506).

Contacting us

If you have any questions or you'd like more help with licensing, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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