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Postgraduate Researchers: Originality

Re-using material in your thesis

This guidance is to help anyone who is using material in their thesis which has already been published in some way, whether as a journal article, within a book, or on the web such as a blog post

I want to use material which has already been used for a previous academic thesis or dissertation?

This is considered self-plagiarism and an academic offence.  Any text, data or other material which has already been used in an examined work such as a dissertation, Master’s thesis or PhD cannot be presented as original work and used as part of your PhD: if any material (inclu­ding ideas) is re-presented, there needs to be a very clear and explicit declaration within the text.

I have published a section of my PhD before I have submitted it for the viva voce examination. Do I have to rewrite the duplicate material?

You can include material in your thesis which is published elsewhere, and this material does not need to be altered or rewritten. However, you must take great care to be explicit in your thesis about any material which has been published separately by following the example below

A section of this chapter has been previously published (with some amendments) as, Jones, T., 2022. The impact of art therapy on newly diagnosed dementia patients. Dementia Journal. 24 (3). 33-54.

It would be expected that you would be the lead author, contributing at least 75% of the substantive content of the paper.

Will publishing any material in advance affect my thesis being made available on BURO?

The copyright of your thesis resides with you, but this is not usually the case with publications, where it is transferred to the publisher. Your Faculty Library Team can discuss this with you, but if you do not publish in an Open Access journal some parts of your thesis may have to be redacted on BURO.

If you have worked with co-authors, you should have consent from them for the material to be included in your thesis, and should declare the extent to which the paper is your own work and this should normally be certified by all authors concerned.

It would be expected that you would be the lead author, contributing at least 75% of the substantive content of the paper. In the case of multiple authors, the consent of the two other main contributors is acceptable. You may be asked for this information when you submit your thesis to the library.

How do I present material in my thesis which is already published?

As your thesis will ordinarily be made available on BURO, the following principles should be followed when including any material which you have already published in your thesis:

If you have any text, figures, or data in your thesis which you have already published, there should be an explicit acknowledgement at the start of the relevant chapter in your thesis, with a full citation. For example:

A section of this chapter has been previously published (with some amendments) as, Jones, T., 2022. The impact of art therapy on newly diagnosed dementia patients. Dementia Journal. 24 (3). 33-54.

You may also want to consult