Images and copyright

In the past years I have received numerous questions about the usage and distribution of exported images in MolView (in particular from publishers). I want to clarify a few things in this article. Basically images exported in MolView are free to use for ANY purpose. The disclaimer at is still valid though. I do not (legally) claim that any of the content in MolView is suitable for your purpose. For example, I am not responsible for erroneous content (so that is up to you to validate).


When including images in a paper or another published work, you are NOT required to cite MolView. MolView is GPL (free) software, and on top of that citing software that was used to generate content it not required by copyright law. This is something I also fully support myself. More information: GNU FAQ.

The data used to generate images (molecule coordinates for example) are also not part of MolView. Instead they are retrieved from other sources such as PubChem. Without most users being aware, data from PubChem is used as program input to produce the images. If you are very concerned about citation, you can refer to the original source. This source can always be found in the Tools menu (for small molecules its Tools > PubChem source).

Of course there is nothing that prevents you from citing MolView. This is an article you could refer to:


So citation is not required, and neither is permission. As mentioned earlier, MolView is free software. Anyone is allowed to use and modify it under the terms of the AGPL-3.0 license. You do not need permission to use MolView or to use the images produced by MolView.