Intellectual Property Issues
Copyright provision details may be found in the University of Guelph Graduate Calendar and in the University of Guelph Policy on Intellectual Property document.
An authorization to reproduce copyright material beyond brief excerpts must be obtained from the copyright owner and submitted with the thesis. In order to avoid plagiarism you should become familiar with how to avoid it According to the National Library and Archives Canada:
"Please ensure that you haven't included copyrighted material from other sources unless you've received written permission from the copyright holder(s).
This may take quite some time especially if some of the copyrighted material is older, if the copyrighted source(s) you need to contact is out of the country and/or you need to contact multiple sources. We strongly recommend that you contact the copyrighted source(s) early in your thesis preparation.
You may have already published a portion of your thesis, for example as a journal article or part of a book. If you have assigned the copyright to your publisher you need to obtain written permission to include it in your thesis. Please inform your publisher about the Theses Non-Exclusive License you have signed with Library and Archives Canada.
If you've written your thesis with a co-author, he or she must sign a separate license.
If your thesis includes material (e.g. a chapter, an article) that has been co-written with another author(s), you need permission from the author(s) before submitting it to Library and Archives Canada (via your university) for publication. Please inform the co-author(s) that you have signed a Theses Non-Exclusive License that authorizes Library and Archives Canada to reproduce, communicate to the public on the Internet, loan, distribute or sell copies of your thesis, among other things.
In all cases, written permission must accompany your thesis."
What You Should Know if You Plan to Use a Published Journal Article as a Chapter of Your Thesis
When you have your research published, you usually sign some type of agreement with the publisher. You should read that agreement carefully before signing, making sure you understand AND AGREE with the terms and conditions. If you don't, you may want to change the agreement in connection with discussion/negotiation with the publisher, and possibly with advice of legal or other counsel.
Some publishers will ask authors to sign over their copyright. You can often negotiate this point, although journal editors/publishers are not forthcoming in revealing this fact. It is important to negotiate because once you sign away your copyright you can’t get it back, and you may not be able to legally use your own work in the future.
The agreement should be explicit about what future rights of use you retain. If you want to include the materials in a dissertation or to reuse the materials for teaching or a book chapter, negotiate these rights with the publisher. Given that the University of Guelph is now requiring students to publish their theses in the online institutional repository (the Atrium), you should obtain an agreement that allows you to include your research in a freely available electronic thesis. It is very likely that the journal article you publish will be quite different from the thesis chapter you are submitting. Typically the article is much shorter than the chapter or full work, has been revised as a result of the editorial process and peer review, and sometimes has several authors, resulting in many publishers having no concern regarding fully accessible theses. Still, it is essential to discuss this with the publisher before signing an agreement.
This depends on your agreement with the publisher, which is why it is important to negotiate. As discussed above, the best solution is to anticipate the process by negotiating with the publisher to retain your copyright. If the publisher is unwilling to allow you to retain your copyright, there are a number of other options you should consider. These should be discussed with your committee.
- Verifying and obtaining rights to use an article as a chapter of your thesis. When you submit your article to the publisher, explain that you would like a signed release for the publication of the same in your thesis, including in its electronic version. If the publisher agrees, then you may do as you like. The same procedure can be taken after publication as well. Most publishers will agree with a few strings attached (such as the non-distribution of individual thesis chapters).
- Ensuring that the published article and the equivalent chapter of your thesis are sufficiently different in terms of content, writing style and/or structure. If the chapter of your thesis varies enough from the published article, it may essentially be considered a different publication. This may often be the case, since articles are typically short, and your thesis or dissertation may be the only place where all the details, data, tables, and other aspects of your research are made available. Most publishers allow you to use exactly the same figures (but with a reference to the original publication). Contact your publisher if you have any doubts
- Citing that publication in your references.
- Linking or pointing to the publisher online, you can (with permission of the publisher, who usually has protection so that paying customers or subscribers are the only ones allowed access).
Many publishers have already created Open Access Guidelines which address the issue of archiving published articles in an institutional repository such as the Atrium. Some publishers provide language specifically for authors, and graduate students and their ETD submissions:
- If an author publishes an article in one of the journals of Elsevier, the author retains the right to include the journal article, in full or in part, in a thesis or dissertation.
- Authors who publish in Taylor & Francis journals have “the right to include an article in a thesis or dissertation that is not to be published commercially, provided that acknowledgment to prior publication in the relevant Taylor & Francis journal is made explicit”.
Other publishers don’t identify student research per se but they are clear about how authors can and cannot republish their work.
- Springer/Kluwer Academic Publishers allows authors to self-archive an author-created version of his/her article on his/her own website and or in his/her institutional repository. He/ she may not use the publisher's PDF version, which is posted on link.springer.com, for the purpose of self-archiving or deposit. Additionally, they require a full credit to the publication in which the material was originally published, by adding the original source of publication and a link inserted to the published article on Springer's website. The link must be accompanied by the following text: "The final publication is available at link.springer.com".
The Sherpa Romeo website can be used to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.
If the publisher restricts access in that release, say to the UG community, you may want to have 2 versions of your thesis or dissertation-one with and one without the chapter (e.g., published article) in question. You may need to apply to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies for an embargo period of a maximum of one year on digital publication of your thesis.
Remember that preparing a thesis is part of your graduate experience, one aim of which is to prepare you to be a part of the world of research and publication. We hope you will treat your thesis submission as part of your educational experience, and will take steps when you deal with publishers to help other students gain the widest possible access to your research.
The library's web page on Author Rights Copyright and Publishing Support, gives useful information to consider when thinking about retaining your author rights. The SPARC Addendum, in particular, can be useful if and when you want to amend a journal publisher's copyright agreement.
Electronic submissions will be embargoed from any public access according to current Circulation and Copying of Thesis regulations found in the Graduate Calendar. Should you have questions regarding the proprietary nature of your research, you should consult your advisor. Embargo is indicated within the electronic submission of the thesis and must be accompanied by the Request to Restrict Circulation of Thesis form to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.
Department of Justice
A Guide to Intellectual Property for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars
The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies publication
Plagiarism and Academic Integrity
Library, University of Guelph
Bound By Law
A clever comic book style approach to copyright, fair use and popular media, sponsored by Duke University - Center for the Study of the Public Domain.
Copyright Law and Graduate Research
Copyright, and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities (ProQuest / Kenneth D. Crews / Columbia University)
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that offers free and flexible copyright licenses for creative works.