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Here is a list of image collections that can be used for free.

Courtesy of Laura Ennis, Edinburgh Napier University, via the LIS-SCITECH email list.

Image credit: Advert for S. Cook's Chemist, Hyson Green, showing a Pug with the advert connected to its collar. Credit: Wellcome CollectionCC BY

Please contact us if you have any other sources of free scientific images that can be added to this list.

U.S. Government Image Collections

History of Medicine

Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) are from the historical collections of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Here you’ll find image files of a wide variety of visual media including fine art, photographs, engravings, and posters that illustrate the social and historical aspects of medicine dating from the 15th to 21st century.

Public Health Image Library

A catalogue of images from the Center for Disease Control. Use by public health professionals, the media, laboratory scientists, educators, students, and the worldwide public for reference, teaching and presentations is encouraged.

Image Gallery Gateway

Images from the Genomic Science program and other U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) programs. Also includes archived images from the Human Genome Project and Microbial Genomics.

For more U.S. Government image collections, try this list from the Library of Congress

Scientific Image Collections

Wellcome Collection

Find thousands of Creative Commons licensed images from historical library materials and museum objects to contemporary digital photographs.

Biodiversity Heritage Library Flickr

World Register of Marine Species

As well as an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms, the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) provides images of marine life. Images are by default open-access under the terms of the CC BY-NC-SA license, unless stated otherwise.

History of Science

A complete visual resource offering over 1,000,000 digital images of art, history and culture from global museums, galleries, private collections and contemporary artists all copyright cleared for educational use. A subscription is needed.

Geograph Britain and Ireland

The Geograph Britain and Ireland project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland under Creative Commons licence.

Anatomy and Physiology Image Bank

This collection of images is from The Sourcebook of Medical Illustration (The Parthenon Publishing Group, P. Cull, ed., 1989). The images are “copyright-free as long as they are used for educational purposes.”

Science Fair Project Pictures

A small collection (just 74 in total) of public domain images suited for use in science projects.

General Image Collections

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contains over 55 million freely usable media files under a variety of licences.


Half a million stock photographs published under a CC0 licence.


A community for sharing photographic images, with varying licences.


A collection of over 1.6 million royalty free stock photos and videos all published under a CC0 licence.

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons Search is a federated image search engine combining Google Images, Flickr, Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons, and many more.