Publishing work prior to submission

Students may include in their thesis work that has already been published, in part or in whole, but should consider the following copyright implications.



Students may include in their thesis work that has already been published, in part or in whole, but should consider the following copyright implications.

Publishing a journal article or conference proceedings paper has in the past often meant signing a copyright transfer agreement, by which the author(s) transfer the copyright to the publisher. Students should be aware when publishing that they can negotiate to keep their copyright, or to give a licence to publish.

They should also now familiarise themselves with the University’s Research Publications and Copyright Policy. The policy enables authors to control copyright, as set out in the University’s new IP policy, to their own journal articles and conference proceedings papers, apply a CC BY licence to them and make them available via the institutional repository, White Rose Research Online (WRRO) without embargo. The policy does not apply to monographs, book chapters or long-form publications, though students publishing these whose research degree has been funded by UKRI, Wellcome Trust, the European Union or any other funder with an open access mandate should see the guidance in the Open Research section below.

Postgraduate research students at Sheffield who have their articles and conference proceedings papers accepted for publication should deposit their accepted manuscript versions into WRRO, via myPublications, in order to comply with the policy. This also ensures students are able to include this version of their manuscript in their thesis.

Where circumstances do not allow compliance with the Research Publications and Copyright Policy and an exception is requested - for example where a co-author is unable to agree to make the accepted manuscript open access, or specific corporate funding restrictions apply - then some publishers may still allow students to retain certain rights, which might include reprinting the whole paper or part of the paper in a thesis. This should be confirmed with the publisher at the time of publication, or they will need to write for permission retrospectively before submitting the eThesis. In such cases students will need to document in their eThesis that they have permission from the publisher or have retained the right to publish the material. If a student wishes to include a paper excepted from the policy that has multiple authors, they will also need to obtain the permission of any co-authors before it can be incorporated into the eThesis.

Turnitin will identify any previous publication of the text in a journal or conference paper in the originality report. If the resubmission is accepted practice within a department and the student has retained their rights under the policy, or obtained permission from the publisher and any co-authors, this match can be excluded from the results.

If any of the above conditions cannot be met, i.e. the paper was not deposited in WRRO under the Research Publications and Copyright Policy, or publishers or a co-author does not give the necessary permission, or where resubmission of material is not accepted practice within a department, then the only alternative to embargoing the eThesis is to rewrite the material which they have authored and to reference it appropriately to avoid self plagiarism.

Students should ensure that they properly reference any published papers within their thesis, even if they are the author.

Publishing or posting research online

Academic publishing is growing and developing with new journals and publishing platforms emerging, many of them offering open access options. This has led to a rise in 'predatory publishing' - publications lacking in identifiable scholarship, academic rigour or credibility. Students are advised to check the credentials of any unfamiliar publisher or journal before proceeding to publish with them. Use the guidance from Think, Check, Submit.

Students may also be interested in Think, Check, Attend, which is a similar initiative aimed at helping students avoid fake or fraudulent conferences.

Students should also check they own any content before posting it on a social network or website. It is advisable not to post published papers or research that they intend to publish. The best way to make previously published research available online is through White Rose Research Online (WRRO) via myPublications, which can be accessed from the services menu in MUSE.