I hope this is the right forum for this question, I came her form stackoverflow. I would like to include some world maps in my academic publication. As the title suggests, I am working with the maps package with R. The license on the package is a GPL-2 license. I know that some worldmap "shapes" are copyright protected, so I am trying to figure out if that is the case here. The package itself is fine to use, I am however, not sure if the "free to run, study, share, and modify" part of the license applies to the shapes of the countries in plots as well. Am I allowed to publish a map created with that program in an academic journal? I know that the shapefiles come from the Natural Earth project, which can be used freely.
Does anyone understand this better and can shed some light on the issue?