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PhDs by publication

Copyright information for PhDs by publication

Candidates for PhD by publication need to be aware of the publication policies of commercial academic publishers they intend to submit articles to for publication and how these may affect the completion and submission of their thesis.

The University requires a thesis to be submitted in both hard copy and digital form. The digital version will be made openly available on the National Library of Australia's Trove website. Therefore while copies of published journal articles can be included in the hard copy version of the thesis, it may not be possible to include these articles in the same format in the online version.

Most academic publishers require authors to transfer copyright to the publisher which will restrict the ability of the author or the University to make a copy of the article available online, including as part of a PhD by publication thesis. In some cases publishers will allow the author to place what is called a post-print or 'accepted manuscript' version (that is a final version of the paper in Word format – after it has been peer-reviewed but before it has been typeset for inclusion in the journal) onto an online institutional repository. Therefore it is very important that candidates retain full, complete copies of the final versions of all articles, as in some cases these can be included in the online version of their thesis.

If a publisher does not allow any version of the article to be made available online, it may only be possible for the university to include URL links to the articles that form part of the thesis in the digital version of the thesis.  Access to these articles may then only be available via a subscription to the journal, so the full thesis will not necessarily be openly available to all users. Candidates therefore need to be aware that the online version of the thesis may be different to the hard copy held by the University.

With this in mind, candidates for PhD by publication should scrutinise publishers' policies and be sure that they will allow for appropriate access to material that will be included in their thesis before entering an agreement with an academic publisher. They should also consider asking publishers for permission to include their article in an online version of the thesis and retain copies of all agreements.