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Graduate Student Publishing Support: Home

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

What publishing questions can we help you with?

The Libraries offers help with publishing. While the Graduate School can answer many questions related to requirements for publishing a thesis or dissertation, such as formatting questions, this guide is an introduction to publishing practices and library services.

Topics include literature reviews, citation management software, copyright permissions, embargoes, publication agreements, public access policies, and open access.

The Graduate School requires all graduate students to deposit their thesis or dissertation to Trace (Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange), UT's open repository hosted by the UT Libraries. The Libraries are pleased to host and share UT scholarship with the world.

What is Trace? (SlideShare)

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 the 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.

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

Authorship Concerns, Disputes, Etc.

Go to the "Authorship, Research Misconduct, and Plagiarism" page of the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit for help with these topics:

  • Responsible authorship
  • Ethical writing practices
  • Authorship disputes and what constitutes authorship
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Using the iThenticate plagiarism detection tool

I need help with securing copyright permissions related to my thesis or dissertation.

Copyright and 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 the page on Securing Permissions in the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit. You should allow 8-12 weeks for the permissions process.

If you want to secure permissions to include media or other resources in a thesis or dissertation, set up an appointment with the Scholarly Communication & Publishing Librarian.


Copyright and Your Own Work

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. 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.

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to read "Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities,” by Kenneth D. Crews, J.D., Ph.D., Director of the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University. The document was supported by ProQuest and the Council of Graduate Schools.

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 Avoiding Plagiarism and Research Misconduct on the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit.

What is an embargo? Why would I want one?

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

1. When an author wants to submit their thesis or 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 anything previously published elsewhere. 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.

I need help understanding a publication agreement.

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.

I need help complying with a funder's public access policy.

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.

I want to know more about 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 on the "Open Access Publishing" page of the Scholarly Publishing Toolkit.

I need help with citations and/or a citation management system, such as EndNote or Zotero.

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.

I need help with a literature review.

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.


The Scholarly Communication and Publishing Librarian at UT Libraries is available for consultations by email or in-person. Learn more about support for digital scholarship through the Libraries' Scholars' Collaborative website.