Incorporating your published work in your thesis


You may include in progress or published material written during your enrolment, as part of your thesis, by having either:

  • “included publications", in which your publications are included as components that are distinct from the rest of the thesis, in the format described below; or
  • “included material” that is drawn from your publications and combined with txt that is otherwise written specifically for the thesis.

In this page we refer to both these kinds of inclusion of published work as “incorporated publications”; the first format, where the publications are included as distinct components, is also known as “thesis with publications”.

The Graduate Research Training Policy outlines what can be included in the thesis. Your thesis must include a literature review that clearly details the research questions and a general discussion that integrates the work and places the publications into the context of the research question.

You may have to supplement the incorporated publications 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 article as an addendum in the thesis. Where a publication is included as a distinct component, you are also encouraged to include a critical reflection on the work, which could, for example, acknowledge or address limitations or impacts of the work that have appeared since publication.

When submitting your thesis, you will be required to confirm that:

(a) the work in the incorporated publications is your own, and
(b) your co-authors verify this and give permission for the article to be included in the thesis.

To do this, you must complete the Declaration for publications incorporated in thesis form and ask your co-authors to sign the Co-author authorisation form. You must upload these forms as a single combined file with your thesis on submission. Plan well ahead to obtain the required co-author signatures to avoid delays to your examination.

The Preface

As detailed in the Preparation of Graduate Research Theses rules, your preface should outline:

  • the publication status of any incorporated publications
  • your contribution to any incorporated publications
  • any work carried out in collaboration with others
  • editorial assistance received
  • parts of the work completed outside of your candidature.

There is no prescribed 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.


As specified in the Graduate Research Training Policy, your co-authors and principal supervisor must declare that you are the primary author of the included material and you contributed more than 50% of the work towards the publication.  A primary author is mostly responsible for the planning, execution and preparation of work for publication. If you are the primary author but are not the first named author, this should be explained in the Preface, outlining the work you did as primary author.

  • 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 more than 50 per cent for it to be included. You could, however, include this paper as an appendix.

  • Are changes made by the publisher in the peer review and publication editing process regarded as a form of editorial assistance?

    Yes. It is understood that portions of the thesis that have been published or accepted for publication will have been through an editorial process. Such editorial changes should be explicitly acknowledged.

    Format of the thesis

    When included complete publications, you should use the “author accepted” version of articles that have been accepted or published. This is the final draft as accepted by the publishers, including any changes based on referees’ suggestions before it has undergone copy-editing, typesetting and proofing. For copyright reasons, the published version cannot be included in your thesis.

    While some journals request that the version you send them includes any figures or tables at the end of the submitted document, when you reproduce the article in your thesis you should place them where they logically flow within the text. It is also recommended that you use similar formatting (e.g. line spacing, font type and size) as the rest of the thesis.

    You can view suggested formats for arranging the chapters of a thesis that includes publications as distinct components here. See also example theses in the University of Melbourne repository.

      • 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 for the thesis as a whole 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 questions. You should also introduce each publication that is included as a distinct component, explaining its role in the work, and, where appropriate, provide a critical reflection on its contribution.

      • 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 the preface the source of the information (eg. that the text on page(s) xx is from [name of publication], or that chapter yy is adapted from [name of publication]. In each case you should give its publication status and your contribution to the publication). It will assist your examiners if, at the start of each chapter that includes work drawn from a publication, there is a footnote explaining where the work came from and how it has been used in the chapter. You may wish to include the entire publication as an appendix so that your examiners can see where the material came from.

      • Is there a different word length expectation for theses that include publications?
        • Theses which include publications in a “thesis with publications” style can typically be slightly shorter; for example the typical PhD length is 80,000 words, but a PhD including publications as distinct components has a typical length of 50,000-80,000 words).
        • While the writing style may be more concise, there is no difference in the expected volume of work presented in theses with publications.
        • Maximum limits apply to all theses.
      • Do I need to list the references used in a publication I have included in my thesis in the overall reference list/bibliography for my thesis?

        If you are including the list of references as part of the publication they do not need to be repeated in the overall reference list/bibliography for the thesis.

      • Should incorporated publications be included in the overall reference list?

        Incorporated publications can be referenced via a footnote, but if references to them are included in the bibliography an examiner may be unsure as to whether the work was completed as part of the research.

      • 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 the result of my examination is deferred and I have to ‘revise and resubmit’ for second round of examination, can I include a new publication?

        Yes. Revised and resubmitted theses are examined in their entirety and the inclusion of a new incorporated publication may strengthen your response to examiners.

      • If the publication status of my chapter has changed since I submitted my initial thesis, which version do I include in the final thesis submitted to the repository?

        In most cases you should include the latest version, up to the author accepted version and update the publication status in the preface. If your examiners request changes which conflict with the editorial or peer review advice you have since received from your publisher, you may choose to address this elsewhere in your thesis, or in your written response to the examiners’ reports.

      Publication suitability

      A work is suitable for inclusion if it was in progress or published during your enrolment in your current degree. This includes:

      • literature reviews where you are the primary author.
      • systematic reviews of a research question as a results chapter.
      • a protocol paper involving novel method development.
      • material exploring key methodological issues.
    • 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. 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.

    • My publication is not peer reviewed. Can I include it as a chapter of my thesis?

      Yes. You will need to clearly acknowledge in the preface that its status is ‘in progress’ or, that the paper has been published but not peer reviewed.

    Completing the forms

    • 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 publications incorporated in  thesis and Co-author authorisation forms?

      Yes. You may wish to include the entire publication as an appendix so that your examiner can see where the information came from.

    • 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 publications incorporated in thesis 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 and appropriately cite the publication in your thesis.

    • 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. Your principal supervisor must sign the Declaration for a thesis with publication and Co-author Authorisation forms which confirms their agreement to the inclusion of the publication.

    • How do I combine my Declaration and Co-Authorship forms?

      You can use Adobe Acrobat's 'Combine Files' tool which will allow you to combine files of different filetypes into a PDF. Alternatively, you can open a PDF copy of a file and then use the 'Organise Pages' tool which will allow you to drag additional pages where you can then save it as a single file.

    iThenticate report

    You should run your whole thesis through iThenticate, including the chapters comprised wholly or partly of your published work.  You can then exclude the specific matching publication source/s that correspond to the publications you have included in your thesis in a “thesis with publications” style. The means that the thesis chapter or publication is reviewed against the other literature in the repository, but not matched to itself. You should only exclude matching sources that are articles which you have appropriately included.  You should outline and explain any filters and exclusions you applied in iThenticate in an accompanying declaration which you can also upload to TES.

    You should not exclude publications from which you have included material (but not the complete publication), as the iThenticate report will then show where the material is present in the thesis, allowing your supervisors and Chair of Examiners to verify that it has been included appropriately.

    Further information on the use of iThenticate can be found here:

      The examination

      The criteria for examination remain the same whether or not publications are incorporated. See the Graduate Research Training Policy for more information. You can also view the information for examiners here:

      If the publication status of your article changes between submission for examination and submission of your final thesis, it is appropriate to include the most recent version (up to the author-accepted version). You should also update the preface to reflect the new status. If you are submitting a list of corrections for approval and/or resubmitting for re-examination you should also note this in your index of changes.

      Examples of theses with publications

      The following are theses available openly or with University of Melbourne log-in through the University of Melbourne repository that include publications as distinct components in a “thesis with publications” style.

      Al Zein, Eza (2019). Taskscape: Caring for Migrant Materials.

      Arundel, Jonathan Paul (2015) The spatio-temporal distribution of honey bees and floral resources in Australia.

      Bamford, Nicholas James (2016) Relationships between diet, obesity and insulin dysregulation in horses and ponies.

      Bibb, Jennifer Louise (2016) Musical recovery: the role of group singing in regaining healthy relationships with music to promote mental health recovery.

      Burfurd, Ingrid Ellen (2018) Beliefs and learning in the laboratory: essays in experimental economics.

      Fan, Yi (2019) Quantification of mandibular morphological changes in 3D.

      Kriesner, Peter (2017) Wolbachia fitness benefits and symbiont interactions in Drosophila.

      Mody, Fallon (2019) Doctors down under: European medical migrants in Victoria (Australia), 1930-60.

      Nencini, Sara (2018) Tackling bone pain at the source: identifying and exploring new therapeutic targets.

      Pan, Xuan (2018) Graphene quantum dot based electronic devices.

      Seibt, Susanne (2018) In-situ investigations of molecular self-assembly using microfluidics.

      Smith, Merryn (2018) Non-structural carbohydrate storage and use in eucalypt trees of south-east Australia.

      Uddin, Shihab (2019) Functional aspects of root and leaf development in dryland crop water use under elevated CO2.

      Vahedi, Andisheh (2018) The work-family interface and child mental health: longitudinal associations via family functioning across childhood.

      Next: Avoiding plagiarism