Use of Previously Published Works in Theses and Dissertations

A common situation in graduate schools today is that students wish to use their previously published works, mainly scholarly articles, in their theses and dissertations.  If the student has transferred the copyright in his or her scholarly articles to a publisher, questions often arise as to whether permissions from the publisher are required before including the article in the thesis or dissertation.

The Rutgers School of Graduate Studies has endorsed Guidelines on Using Previously Published Work in Theses and Dissertations to explain these questions. Any student faced with the issue of prior published works should read these guidelines recommending that the thesis or dissertation author:

  • Properly cite the prior work
  • Clarify the student’s contribution to the prior work
  • Read the publication agreement carefully
  • If copyright was transferred to a publisher:
    • Determine whether the publication agreement allows for use in a thesis or dissertation without obtaining permission, or
    • Obtain permission from the publisher
  • Respect the rights of co-authors.