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Copyright and Publishing

Copying material that was produced by persons other than the thesis author may violate the law of copyright. You are personally responsible for ensuring that your thesis complies with Canadian copyright law, and the cIRcle license requires that you confirm that you have done so.

Please see the Theses and Dissertations section of Copyright UBC for information.

The College of Graduate Studies cannot offer legal advice as to whether or not copyright permission is required.


Copying material that was produced by persons other than the thesis author may violate the law of copyright. Please see the Theses and Dissertations section of Copyright UBC for information regarding permissions and retain the original permission forms or letters for your records in case of a challenge.

Including Published Material in a Thesis or Dissertation

Publications are most commonly in the form of articles appearing in academic journals or chapters appearing in edited volumes. Publications may also include films or other audio, visual, or graphic pieces shown or published in public venues, or other scholarly artifacts such as policy briefs, webpages or computer applications, curricula, etc., that are in use in a professional or community domain. Nothing should be included in the thesis that cannot be made open-access through cIRcle (after a short-term embargo, if warranted and approved).

Published work must be smoothly integrated into the flow of the thesis to produce a unified and appropriately-sequenced argument. This may require changes and re-writing, and additional material may need to be added to the published work. The Preface must include details of each publication and the collaboration with co-authors (if any).

Articles that have been published may be included as separate chapters of the thesis or may be incorporated within the thesis, provided that the usage is suitably acknowledged in the text and the Preface.  Students can be either the sole author or a senior co-author of the journal articles, but must clearly describe their contributions to the research in the Preface.

Use of copyrighted material must be acknowledged in the Preface, and tables and figures must have "Reprinted with permission of…" in their captions.

Students using submitted journal articles or published articles as research chapters in their thesis/dissertation should be aware the articles must be revised as noted: 

  • Remove the introduction from each chapter (you may have a brief synopsis). There is only one introduction at the very beginning of the thesis.

  • Remove the conclusions from each chapter (you may have a brief heading of remarks). There is only one conclusion in the whole thesis.

  • Remove the reference/bibliography section from each chapter. There is only one reference/bibliography section in the whole thesis.

  • Formatting must be consistent throughout the thesis, including units of measure, abbreviations, and the numbering scheme for tables, figures, footnotes, and citations.

More information:

Copyright at UBC

UBC cIRcle FAQ section 5

Ownership of work

Electronic theses are subject to the same copyright protection as paper documents. Students hold copyright to their theses regardless of the method of submission.

Publishing your Thesis Elsewhere

You own the copyright to your thesis as a whole and are free to publish your thesis if you wish. If your thesis includes any work (e.g. figures, tables, etc.) which is copyrighted to another party, you may need their permission to publish.

You should be aware that many former students are contacted by publishing companies that have an interest in publishing theses. These companies contact authors directly. You are free to grant permission, but you should research the company first to ensure that it is a reputable academic publisher. There are usually discussions between former students online which can give you an insight into the value of publishing with a particular company.

Other Resources

Theses Canada Copyright Guidelines

Last reviewed shim8/17/2017 2:24:54 PM