Skip to Main Content

Copyright @ Charles Sturt University: HDR theses

Charles Sturt University Copyright Guidelines


A thesis is the whole of the examinable work submitted for examination for Doctor of Philosophy or Master by Research in accordance with the Charles Sturt University Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Policy. The thesis may include previously published material, creative or artistic components, software, codes, models and appendices. The Higher Degree research Policy (version 6)  describes different formats available for a thesis, including that of a ‘Thesis by Publication’ and ‘Doctor of Philosophy by Prior Publication’.

Higher Degree research Policy (version 6) of the HDR Policy, advises candidates who include published work in their thesis to ensure that publisher’s agreements do not preclude the inclusion of this published work.

The thesis must comply with the requirements of the Copyright Act, particularly with respect to (a) including copyright material in a Thesis submitted for examination and in the final ‘published’ version of the thesis, and (b) where published material is included in a Thesis by publication.

Copyright in your thesis

As the creator or author of a thesis you will own copyright in the works that you create.

Your thesis may contain excerpts from other publications, including diagrams, illustrations, quotations, maps and other material created by other people. The Fair Dealing exception of the Copyright Act allows you to make a single copy of a reasonable portion to include in a thesis submitted for examination.

Publishing your thesis

A thesis submitted for examination is not published and is therefore covered by the fair dealing exception. The Fair Dealing exception does not apply to the publicly available copy of your thesis, e.g. when the thesis has been submitted to a digital repository.

Once these conditions have been met the thesis is considered to be a published document.

Obtaining permission

 You will need to have permission from the copyright holder, in order to include material normally covered under the Fair Dealing exception.

If you cannot get permission from the copyright owner you will need to replace any copyright material in the final publicly available copy of your thesis, with references pointing to where it can be located.

It is best to ask permission early. You will need to:

  • Identify the correct owner
  • Identify yourself, institution, contact details and purpose for use
  • Clearly identify what is being copied and how it is being used
  • Obtain permission in writing (email is okay) and keep copies

The OAKLaw Project (2017) has published a useful guide ‘Copyright Guide for Research Students: What you need to know about copyright before depositing your electronic thesis in an online repository’, with sample letters and tips on seeking permission.

Thesis by publication

A ‘thesis by publication’ will contain a series of the candidate’s manuscripts that have been published, have been submitted for publication and/or have been prepared in order to be submitted for publication, or a combination of any of the above; together with a explanatory introduction and a final review to link the papers and to establish the broader academic context. Each paper may also include a brief introduction to place the work in the context of the whole thesis  -  Higher Degree research Policy (version 6) of the HDR Policy.

Published articles can be included in your thesis for examination under the Fair Dealing exception.

To include the published version of an article or book chapter in the final publicly available copy of your thesis the articles will need to be from an Open Access publication, or you will need to have obtained permission from the publisher to include the published version.

Some publishing agreements may also allow you to include a copy of a digital draft of a research article after it has been peer reviewed (post-print), or before peer review (pre-print).

If you are currently publishing with a view to writing a thesis, it is best to negotiate using the published version in your thesis when submitting articles for publication.

Copyright sample permission letter

You can find a sample permission letter here.

You can copy the contents of this letter into another Google Doc or Word Doc and modify the contents to suit your needs.


Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.Acknowledgement of Country

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.