Traditionally, theses for higher degrees were published by universities in hard copy only. Now increasingly, these are also archived and may be made freely available via university repositories. They may or may not have associated licenses such as those from Creative Commons which also allow reuse.
Questions have arisen at COPE forums and other venues as to whether publication of theses, especially freely available ones, should be considered as “prior publications” when work from a thesis is submitted for publication to a journal. This document sets out some of the issues and suggests principles to consider.
We welcome feedback on this discussion document, after which it will be published as a guidance document. We particularly welcome comments from individuals and groups working in the Arts and Humanities, where we recognize there may be different practices and expectations from what is described below.
What theses are relevant to publications?
There are two types of theses that are relevant to journal publishing. First, the traditional thesis that contains the first account of work done during the course of a higher degree, and which is written usually in the form of multiple chapters bound together. The work in these chapters is otherwise unpublished and is usually largely the work of one person, the person who is studying for the degree under supervision from one or more senior academics.
he second type of thesis – thesis by publication–is one that consists, in whole or part, of papers that have already been published in academic journals.
Authors, especially in the arts and humanities may, publish their thesis in its entirety with a commercial or non-commercial publisher in the form of a book or monograph after their degree has been conferred.
This is an extract. Refer to the PDF for the full document.