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Thesis / Dissertation Formatting Manual (2024)

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There may be several reasons why a student would include material in a thesis or dissertation that was previously published. Reasons may include:

  • Dissertation is a combination of several papers that the student previously published in journals or books
  • Thesis or dissertation includes lengthy excerpts or quotes from a published work, or includes images from artists
  • Significant section of one or more chapter(s) were previously published in other co-authored paper(s)
  • Quoting or citing from previously published books or articles

If you are using any material that has previously been published, you must first determine whether your inclusion of the material meets the "fair use" standard described in the section below. If it does NOT meet fair use standards, you will be required to do one or more of the following:

  • Include a statement in your Acknowledgments Page indicating where the material was previously published, and that you have permission to reprint the material in your thesis
  • Include a copyright statement on your Copyrights Page acknowledging the copyright holder of the previously published material
  • Upload a letter of permission to ProQuest when submitting your manuscript

Fair use

Use of copyrighted work in your dissertation without securing permission and without paying royalties is permissible when the circumstances amount to what the law calls "fair use." In order to claim “fair use” of copyrighted material, the following factors must be weighed:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (17 U.S.C. §107).

For additional information see the UC Copyright Page on Fair Use for Teaching and Research.

For example, you must write to the copyright owner to request permission to use the material if you quote continuously or extensively from a particular author, especially in such fields as fiction, drama, criticism, or poetry, or if you reproduce maps, charts, statistical tables, or other illustrative materials. If you reuse the entirety (or the majority) of a previously published article that you co-authored as a chapter in your thesis, this would probably not meet fair use standards due to violation of factor #3 listed above.

For additional information on copyright and fair use see the U.C. Copyright Education Web Site or the Copyright Advisory Office and Scholarly Works and Dissertations Page at Columbia University Libraries. 

Please note that the UCI Libraries does not provide legal counsel on matters pertaining to copyright. When in doubt, please seek permissions in a timely fashion.

Additional information on copyright and fair use

Copyright and fair use are of special concern in higher education and research. The UCI Libraries provide resources for both creators and users of copyrighted materials. Digital Scholarship Service's page about Scholarly Communication can help you find answers to common questions about copyright and fair use; it is not intended to serve as legal advice.