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Graduate Student Publishing Support: Home

Help with common publishing questions from graduate and doctoral students, including articles, theses and dissertations.

As you complete your thesis or dissertation, you may have a range of questions. Along with your committee, the Graduate School reviews and approves theses and dissertations.

The Libraries make your thesis or dissertation public upon notice from the Graduate School. Ask the Graduate School about:

  • Forms and deadlines; formatting questions
  • Date when your thesis or dissertation will be available to the public, and requesting an embargo
  • All policies related to theses and dissertations

Scroll down the page below for information from the UT Libraries about:

  • Copyright questions
  • Duplicate publishing concerns (and why you might want an embargo)
  • Publication agreements
  • Open access publishing
  • Writing support, including literature searches and citation management

The Graduate School requires all graduate students to deposit their thesis or dissertation to TRACE (Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange), UT's open access repository hosted by the UT Libraries. The Graduate School is responsible for creating and implementing policies related to the deposit of thesis and dissertations to TRACE. The Libraries are pleased to host and share UT scholarship with the world.


Authorship Concerns, Disputes, Etc.

Use the documents listed under "Resources from the Committee on Publication Ethics" on the right of this page to get started. For additional information, go to the "Authorship, Research Misconduct, and Plagiarism" page of the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit for help with these topics:

  • Authorship disputes and what constitutes authorship
  • Avoiding plagiarism and understanding text recycling
  • Responsible authorship and ethical writing practices
  • Using the iThenticate plagiarism detection tool

Copyright: Using the Work of Others

When quoting the author of an article or book, all you usually need is a citation; however, when adding a figure or table from an article or book, you sometimes need explicit permission to do so--a citation may not be enough. For more on seeking permissions to reuse a figure or table, refer to "Reusing Tables and Figures from Major Publishers" and also "Fair Use Analysis" under "Securing Permissions" in the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit. You should allow 8-12 weeks for the permissions process.

If you are seeking permission to reuse a figure or an illustration, check if the publisher is a signatory to the STM Permissions Guidelines. Many publishers allow free use of a limited numbers of illustrations, so review the STM Permissions Guidelines for more information.

When considering fair use, an important question in analyzing "purpose of the use" is to consider whether or not your use of a copyrighted work is "transformative."  If your use of a copyrighted work builds upon the work or changes it such that it becomes something distinctly new (a transformative rather than derivative use), then your use more strongly favors fair use.  An example of a transformative use might be taking something meant for entertainment and analyzing it critically while comparing it to other related work.

When you include images or other copyrighted work for educational or academic purposes, you can also help build a case for your use being fair if you consider the minimum resolution level and size that are needed to make your case. If you are including copyrighted work as evidence for an argument, you probably do not need a high resolution file and a full-page duplication for the evidence to be effective. You may also want to include arrows, highlights, or other graphic overlays to bring attention to particular details in the work as a kind of added commentary or analysis.

If you want to secure permissions to include media or other resources in a thesis or dissertation, set up an appointment with the Research Impact & Open Access Librarian.


Copyright: Reusing Work You Authored

If you have published an article, and want to reuse it as a chapter in your thesis or dissertation, check the journal's website for any directions to authors or author FAQs. You most likely don't own the copyright to your article, and if you don't, you must seek permission to reuse the article as a chapter--unless it is under a license, such as a Creative Commons license, that permits reuse. Most journals or publishers will state how they want to be credited, or list special requirements you must meet, in order to reuse the article as a chapter in a thesis or dissertation.

There are also issues of responsible authorship at stake. It is not enough to cite your previously-published article if you are reprinting most of it. Readers need to know that your chapter and your article both present the same findings from the same study. Researchers doing a literature review or meta-analysis should not be misled into thinking that you conducted two different studies that resulted in similar findings.

Consult the following documents from the "Important Resources" section above for more on this topic:

  • Best Practice for Issues around Thesis Publishing
  • Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities
  • Intellectual Property and Theses/Dissertations: Reprints and Duplicate Publications


Ideally, publish your article first, and your thesis or dissertation second.  Most journal publishers want the right of first publication. If you plan to submit your article soon, or it is under review, or it won't be published for several months, you can meet the journal's first publication requirement by putting a delay on the public release of your thesis or dissertation. This is known as placing an embargo on your thesis or dissertation.

For more information on plagiarism and research misconduct, review "Authorship, Research Misconduct, and Plagiarism" in the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit.

What Is an Embargo?

An embargo is a delay in release of a publication. It prevents your work from being publicly available. This is helpful in several instances, such as:

1. When an author wants to submit their thesis/dissertation to the Graduate School, but simultaneously has a chapter from it under review (or soon to be submitted for review) as an article at a journal. Most journals want the right of first publication, and won't accept or publish a work previously published elsewhere. Though many publishers do not consider a thesis/dissertation a prior publication, since there are many differences in writing style and depth of content between an article and a thesis (see COPE's 10 June 2015 discussion document, "Prior Publication and Theses"), some authors feel safer with an embargo in place. An embargo prevents your thesis or dissertation from being published in TRACE for a period of time.

2. When an author has published a chapter of their thesis or dissertation as an article, but the publication agreement the author signed with the journal publisher prevents them from making the article publicly available for a period of time (usually 12 months from date of publication).

3. When an author wants to submit their thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School, but also wants to submit their work to a publisher for consideration as a monograph. Again, publishers want the right of first publication, so an embargo allows you to keep your work private until the embargo period ends.

Though your thesis or dissertation is submitted to TRACE in the Libraries, the Graduate School decides the embargo process. More about the embargo option is on the Graduate School's website.

Publishing Agreements

Publication agreements are more than a piece of paper you sign when your article has been accepted by a journal. They are legal contracts between you and the publisher that dictate how you can use your own work in the future. Many times, your work is no longer yours after you sign an agreement. You can negotiate your publication agreement and retain the rights to your own work. Learn more on the "Publication Agreements" page of the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit.

Open Access

There is a great deal of support for Open Access publishing at the Libraries. Discover an index of reputable OA journals and learn about the Open Publishing Support Fund at UT and the "Open Access Publishing" page of the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit.

Funders' Public Access Policies

If you're working with a faculty member who has a federal (or private) grant that is subject to a public access policy, the data and articles you create may need to be shared publicly through an open repository. The Public Access Policy Toolkit can help you understand the policy requirements.

Citation Management Tools

Keeping track of citations, annotating them, and creating a formatted bibliography is done more easily with citation management software. Librarians can help you make the most of these programs.

The first bullet point below gives you a link to a comparison chart so you can decide if EndNote or Zotero is better for you.

Literature Reviews

Graduate students who have viewed it tell us that the Libraries' tutorial Literature Reviews: An Overview is a great resource. It includes directions for finding databases in related disciplines. In addition to viewing the Literature Review guide, it's also a very good idea to set up a meeting with your subject librarian to discuss library databases, technology, and services for graduate students.

What is TRACE?

TRACE is UT's open repository of research and creative works.

Free to Reuse with Credit

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License

You are free to reuse original material on this guide if you credit Rachel Caldwell and University of Tennessee Libraries; however, much of the information on this page comes from other sources. Check the permissions you need to reuse any material that comes from other sources.


The author of this page in not a lawyer and the information provided does not constitute legal advice.

Important Resources

Resources from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)