The author of a UQ thesis is also its copyright owner, but theses may also include third-party copyright material. In certain situations – e.g. ‘publication’ of the thesis or a part thereof – permission may need to be obtained to reproduce such third-party material.

“Publication” means making available to the public and would include hardcopy publication of the whole or part of the thesis, or making it available online. This could include publishing a work substantially based upon whole or part of thesis.

Traditional theses

The shorthand expression, ‘traditional thesis’ is used to describe the most common thesis and is one where the text written by you does not incorporate previously published journal articles, although it will commonly incorporate third-party copyright material such as quotes and images under fair dealing for research and study.

The protection provided by fair dealing for research and study does not apply where a work, such as a thesis, is published – e.g. made available to the public, whether in hardcopy or electronic form.

Insubstantial quotes are not a concern, but reproduction of large chunks of third-party text will generally require permission unless what you, the thesis author, are engaged in is ‘fair dealing for criticism and review’ – i.e. the 3rd-party material is subject to active criticism and analysis in the thesis text.

In the case of images – e.g. photographs, maps and diagrams – it will be more difficult to claim fair dealing for criticism and review, but also note that commonplace and well-established formulae and diagrams may not require permission because they lack sufficient originality to receive copyright protection.

Permission requests in writing should in most cases be directed to the publisher and not the author of a third-party work.

Non-traditional theses (incorporating prior publications written or co-written by you)

Where a thesis incorporates previously published articles authored by the thesis author, permission should be sought from the relevant publishers before the thesis itself is published in any way, including making it available online or otherwise re-publishing portions of the previously published journal articles, whether in their original form or in a substantially similar form.

As always, such permission should be sought in writing and retained with your records.

Copyright advice and support

If you have any questions about Copyright, Creative Commons, or any other IP related topic, please contact James Lewandowski-Cox, the University Copyright Officer.