Copyright Guide for Thesis Preparation

Including Your Own Previously Published Work in Your Thesis

If you have published or are publishing a portion of your work (i.e., articles, poems, plays, music) and you wish also to include a substantial portion from that work in your thesis, please consider the copyright implications.

As early as possible in the publication process, inform the editor or publisher that you need to reproduce material from your work in your thesis. If you have co-authored the work, you should also inform the co-author(s) that you intend to use the results of your work in your thesis.

Authors usually sign a copyright transfer agreement when they publish. Quite often, this agreement transfers the copyright from the author(s) (i.e. you) to the publisher. If you want to use the content of the article in your thesis, you will need to maintain the right to re-use your own work. When signing an agreement with the publisher, read the terms of the publication agreement very carefully. Look for wording in the publishing agreement about the right to reproduce content from the article in a thesis that will be freely available on the web in an institutional repository (i.e. Spectrum). If you do not see such wording, ask to have it added.

Consider filling out and including a copy of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Author Addendum with your publishing agreement. The Author Addendum is a form you can submit to your publisher which states that you want to retain the copyright for your work.

Keep your publishing agreement/waiver and all correspondence with the publisher on file as they are proof that you have permission to use the material in your thesis.

Finally, familiarize yourself with the section on the Manuscript-Based Thesis in the Thesis Preparation and Thesis Examination Regulations guide (pp. 9-11).

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