Skip to Main Content

Reproducing your own published articles in your thesis

Transfer of copyright to a publisher

If you accept a publisher's offer to publish in a closed or subscription journal you will be asked to sign a publisher's Copyright Transfer Agreement or Author's Agreement (see a sample here). You will also be transferring copyright to the publisher if you decline the Open Access (OA) publishing option for your article in a hybrid journal i.e., a journal that has a mix of content where some authors have paid to make their papers OA but other papers are published under a traditional subscription model.

Always read the Agreement carefully to ascertain your rights as an author to reproduce and share your article.

The Agreement may contain a clause granting you, as the primary author, the right to reproduce the Accepted version in your thesis. (See the sample Agreement Part C, Clause 2. provided below). You can ask for a similar clause to be included in your publishing Agreement. Without this clause, you will need to gain a licence via the RightsLink service as described on the Managing Copyright page of this guide.

Publishers have different policies on the versions of papers they will allow you to reproduce and make openly accessible. 

It is important to understand these terms as they often define the rights/permissions you have as an author.

  • The Submitted version is the Preprint of the manuscript before peer review. This is the author/s' original version of the article that was sent to a journal for consideration. The author/s hold the copyright of this version.
  • The Accepted version is the Postprint of the manuscript after peer review. This is the version of an article that has been amended in order to reflect any peer review revisions in the publication process. The publisher holds the copyright over this version. 
  • The Published version is the final version as it appears in the publication. The publisher holds copyright over this version of the work which is also referred to as the Version of Record.

The Submitted Version of an article is permitted to be open and uploaded into an institutional repository. 

The Accepted Version of a publication is also permitted to be open and uploaded into an institutional repository under a publisher licence, but often under restrictive embargo periods, generally ranging from 12 to 24 months. Note:  A publisher's licence is required for full or partial reproduction of this version of an article.

The Published version can only be included if it is an Open Access article and carries a Creative Commons licence.

Publishing in an Open Access journal

If you intend to publish in an Open Access journal you may have to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC), or you may have chosen a journal that is included in one of the Library's Read & Publish agreements where the APC is covered.  

HDR students can apply for Article Processing Charge (APC) assessment and approval for publication of a research article in a peer-reviewed Gold Open Access (OA) Journal to be paid from their Project Budget funds.

See the APC Support page for HDR students.

CC creative commonsOpen Access articles are made available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence which makes the work free for the reader to download and use according to the terms of the licence.

As most publishers provide a limited choice of CC licences it is best to become familiar with the six available licences so you are aware of the benefits and limitations of each licence.  See the Creative Commons licences page in this guide.

Citing your published work

Accepted version permission citation:

If the Accepted version of an article is to be reproduced in a thesis the full citation including the publisher's permission, should be listed on the Copyright Declaration page and prefaced in the relevant chapter.

Citation example: 

Author, Title, Journal Title, Volume/Issue, DOI, Copyright ©, [year], Link to the published article on the publisher's website.
Reproduced with permission from [Publisher name].

Copyright permission licences received from publishers should not be reproduced in the thesis itself.  Compile all permissions into one Copyright Permissions PDF file to accompany your thesis submission in WorkFlowGen.


Open Access article with a Creative Commons (CC) Licence:

If you have published an article with a CC licence you may reproduce it in full in your thesis in the format in which it was published, or you may change the format to match your thesis.  The full citation of the published article should appear on the Copyright Declaration page and in the chapter where it is reproduced, and the CC licence should be stated with a hyperlink to the licence at the end of the citation.

Citation examples:

Pickard A, Calverley BC, Chang J, Garva R, Gago S, Lu Y, et al. (2021) Discovery of re-purposed drugs that slow SARS-CoV-2 replication in human cells. PLoS Pathog 17(9): e1009840. Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0).


Pickard A, Calverley BC, Chang J, Garva R, Gago S, Lu Y, et al. (2021) Discovery of re-purposed drugs that slow SARS-CoV-2 replication in human cells. PLoS Pathog 17(9): e1009840. Made available under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

Refer to the HDR Handbook for further information on the treatment of published works in a thesis. The handbook is available in the HDR Student Community site in iLearn.

Examples of Bond Doctoral theses with published articles