Copyright & Submission of Digital Theses
Writing Your Thesis
Copyright protects your thesis as a literary work. You own copyright in your thesis unless you assign copyright to another party. Many theses remain unpublished, and as such copyright lasts indefinitely until the thesis is published when the rules on copyright duration apply.
You can include copyright material created by other people in your thesis under fair dealing for research or study but some conditions and limitations apply. Fair dealing for research or study only applies for examination and assessment purposes. If you intend to publish your thesis or make it available on open access, you will need to get permission from the copyright owner for any copyright material you have used.
You should also make sure that you acknowledge all copyright material in your thesis with a full bibliographic citation.
Making Your Thesis Available on Open Access
If you decide to make your thesis available on open access, you will need to check that:
- You have the right to use any copyright material created by other people included in your thesis
- If you have previously published your thesis, in part or in full, any publishing or author agreements you signed allow you to make your thesis available on open access
- there are no other reasons why open access might not be suitable or permitted, for example a pending patent or the terms of a research or funding agreement.
Dealing with copyright material created by other people
If your thesis includes copyright material created by other people you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner to use their work unless the Copyright Act allows you to use the work without their permission. You do not need to seek permission if:
- Copyright in the work has expired.
- You are including an insubstantial portion.
- You have an express license to use the work, e.g. a contract, web site conditions, Creative Commons material, copyright owner has explicitly waived copyright, etc.
- You are critiquing or review the work and your use is covered under fair dealing for criticism or review.
- You are parodying or satirising the work and your use is covered under fair dealing for parody & satire.
If you are not able to seek permission, you may be able to provide an alternative copy of your thesis with the copyright material removed that can be placed on open access. Contact the Minerva Access Team for more information.
You should also make sure that you acknowledge all third party copyright material in your thesis with a full bibliographic citation.
Making your Thesis available as Citation and Metadata Only
If you chose not to make your thesis available on open access, a citation, abstract and metadata will still be available. The University Library will also be entitled under s51(2) of the Copyright Act 1968 to supply copies of your thesis, in part or in full, to library users and other libraries for the purposes of research and study, unless you have applied to the academic registrar to have your thesis (both the print and the digital versions) placed on restricted access.