PhD and MPhil candidates who have published their work during candidature may include publications, where appropriate, as part of their thesis, along with chapters that are written specifically for the thesis. The Graduate Research Students Policy outlines what publications can be included in the thesis.
Discuss this option with your supervisor early in candidature as it requires some planning: only publications that have been peer-reviewed and are accepted in press or published at the time of submission may be included in the thesis.
All theses, whether they contain publications or not, must include a literature review written specifically for the thesis that clearly details the research question and a general discussion that integrates the work and places the publications into the context of the research question.
If you include publications in your thesis, you may have to supplement the papers with additional methods sections as they are often abbreviated in published articles. You are also encouraged to include any data and discussion that was omitted from the published article as an addendum in the thesis.
On submission you will be required to confirm that the work in the publications is your own, and that your co-authors attest to this and give permission for the article to be included in the thesis. To do this, you must complete the Declaration for a thesis with publication form and approach all co-authors to sign the Co-author authorisation form. You must upload these forms with your thesis on submission.
You will also need to include a preface in your thesis that clearly indicates your contribution to each of the publications.
The preface outlines any work carried out in collaboration with others, editorial assistance received or parts of the work completed outside of your candidature. Read the Preparation of Graduate Research Theses rules for details.
There is no proscribed format for a preface; you may wish to include a written description or a table outlining the tasks performed by others and the proportion of the contribution as a percentage.
- How do you know the publications are my work? Do I need to be the first author?
Your co-authors and principal supervisor must declare that you are the primary author and that you contributed more than 50 per cent of the work by completing the Co-author authorisation and Declaration for a thesis with publication form, respectively. The primary author is primarily responsible for the planning, execution and preparation of work for publication. The primary author may not be the first named author.
- How reflective is the final publication of my thoughts and writing?
You must have written the initial draft of the work and you have performed any subsequent editing in response to co-authors' and editors' reviews. The advice and guidance received from colleagues and the editors should be considered as part of the learning experience.
- I contributed 50 per cent of the work with another author. Can I include this publication as a chapter of my thesis?
No. You need to have contributed greater than 50 per cent for it to be included. You could, however, include this paper as an appendix.
- The University does not allow paid editorial assistance for writing theses, but the peer review process for publications involves an editor. Can I still include the publication in my thesis?
Yes. It is understood that portions of the thesis that have been published or accepted for publication will have been through an editorial process.
Format of the thesis
- If my thesis includes publications as thesis chapters, is additional material allowed?
Yes. For example, you may need to include methods chapters to augment the publications. Data omitted from the publication may be included as addenda to the publications.
- A literature survey is included in each of the papers. Is an additional literature survey required?
Yes. All theses, whether they contain publications or not, must have a literature review that clearly details the research question and a general discussion that integrates your work.
- I produced several publications during my candidature. Can I just bind them together and submit them for examination?
No. The policy allows the thesis to be submitted with publications, it is not a thesis by publication. You must include a literature review that clearly details the research question, and a concluding general discussion that integrates the work and places it into the context of the research question.
- I want to use part of a publication in my thesis, but not the entire publication. Can I do that?
Yes, but you must cite it correctly and indicate in your Preface the source of the information and your contribution to the publication. You may wish to include the entire publication as an appendix so that your examiner can see where the information came from.
- I want to include text in my thesis that I wrote for a publication but the publication is not appropriate to include in its entirety in my thesis. How do I include the text without self-plagiarising?
Ensure the text is cited correctly. You must also include a statement in your preface that the text on page/s xx is from [name of publication], its publication status and your contribution to that publication. You may wish to include the entire publication as an appendix so that your examiners can see where the information came from.
- Is there a different word length expectation for theses that include publications?
No. The thesis must be a consolidated body of work whether publications are included or not. Please refer to Thesis formats and word limits for information on the word limit for your degree.
- How do I place my publication within context in my thesis?
- Do I need to list the references used in a publication I have included in my thesis in the overall reference list for my thesis?
No. Those references are already available in the PDF of the article.
- When creating my list of tables and figures do I also need to include the tables and figures from a publication that I have included in my thesis?
No, but you may do so if you think that it will assist readers of your thesis.
- If I have to revise and resubmit my thesis for second examination can I include a new publication?
Yes. Revised and resubmitted theses are examined in their entirety and the inclusion of a new publication may strengthen your response to examiners.
- Does my thesis have to include publications?
No. Thesis with publication is optional. The format of your thesis and whether it includes publications depends on your discipline and thesis content and structure.
- I published work which is relevant to my thesis prior to my enrolment. Can I include this publication in my thesis?
No. Only work completed during your candidature can be included in the thesis in its published form. You can cite your earlier work just like you would any work that is relevant to your research. The work should be listed in the preface of your thesis.
- I have published a review of the literature in my research area. Can I use this paper in my thesis?
No. Secondary publications, including review articles, cannot be used in their published form in a thesis. The 'Literature Review' chapter must discuss the research questions to be addressed by the thesis.
- Do I need to have been enrolled from a certain date in order to include a publication in my thesis?
- Can a systematic review of a specific research question be included as a publication in my thesis?
Yes, if the systematic review is to be used as a results chapter and is separate to the literature review.
- Can I include my published protocol paper in the methods section of the thesis?
Yes, but only if your protocol paper involves novel method development.
- Can I include a published theoretical paper (ie a paper in which I propose a new theoretical model) as a results chapter in my PhD?
A theoretical paper can be included in your thesis if the content of the paper would have otherwise been included in a thesis chapter. Publishing a paper of any kind during candidature does not always mean that it will fit logically within the thesis in its published form.
- What if my publication has not been accepted or published by the journal by the time I am ready to submit my thesis for examination?
It cannot be included as thesis chapter. You will need to present the information as a traditional thesis chapter. Do not delay submission of your thesis to await publication acceptance: some journals have long peer-review timelines.
- Can a published literature review be included in my thesis?
No. You can include it in a list of publications and the pdf could be added to the appendix.
- Can published papers exploring methodological issues be included?
Yes, if it is a key method, but all methods need to be covered to a high degree of detail.
- My publication is not peer reviewed. Can I include it as a chapter of my thesis?
No. Papers and book chapters that are not peer reviewed cannot be included as part of a thesis with publications.
Completing the forms
- Do I need to complete the Declaration for a thesis with publication form if I am not including the actual publication in my thesis?
No. Note that if others have contributed to the work that you are including in your thesis you need to acknowledge their contributions in the Preface.
- I want to include part of a co-authored publication, for which I am the primary author, in my thesis. I will be adapting it for my thesis and will not use the published version. Do I need to complete the Declaration for a thesis with publication and Co-author authorisation forms?
No. You will need to acknowledge the contribution of your co-authors in your preface. You may wish to include the full publication as an appendix.
- Previous candidates from my department did not have to complete forms to include published works in their theses. Why is this required now?
To ensure that the co-authors of all works are consulted before the work is included in the thesis and that your contribution in the publication is clear.
- My research is part of a large consortium where every member is usually listed as an author of a publication. It would be impossible for every member to complete the Co-author Authorisation form. What should I do?
Only those who actually collaborated for the publication should complete Co-author Authorisation forms.
- One of my figures has been used in a publication. The data collection and the creation of the figure was my only contribution to the paper. Do I need to complete the Declaration for a thesis with publication and Co-author Authorisation forms?
No. You can use the figure in your thesis without completing the forms but you should acknowledge the origin of the figure in the preface.
- Do I need to provide the Examinations Office with proof that my paper has been accepted and in press, or has been published?
No. You should provide this evidence to your advisory committee when you are discussing the proposed format for your thesis.
- How does my advisory committee approve the inclusion of a publication as part of my thesis?
- How will the University brief examiners on appropriate expectations of theses including publications? Are examination guidelines available?
The criteria for examination remain the same. View the Graduate Research Training Policy for more information.