Your rights to publish

You retain the copyright in your thesis unless:

  • your research is sponsored or funded by a funder with a claim on the intellectual property
  • your research builds upon existing intellectual property generated by, or jointly invented with, Imperial employees or associates
  • you are concurrently an employee of Imperial College London during your period of study

For details see Intellectual property

In principle, you may reproduce, or give others permission to reproduce, parts or the whole of your thesis but you must consider:

  • third party works and the permission you have been given to use them - if  your permission does not extend to the intended use, send a second permission request to the owner of the third party copyright work
  • any plans to apply for a patent application, meaning that you must postpone communication of your research through an embargo

Discuss any of the above issues with your supervisor.

Publishing in a journal

Journals generally accept papers based on work already written up in a thesis. Individual journal polices on what a journal considers to be prior publication can be found within the ‘information for authors’ section of the journal website. The United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR) have produced this Thesis prior publications spreadsheet on some of the publisher policies that you can use as guidance. If a publisher is concerned that your thesis has already been published online, you may apply for an embargo.

Your paper should be a reworking of the material in your thesis and written to conform to the journal's style guide. The course (publication section), offered by the Graduate School, offers helps and tips.

When quoting from your thesis or reusing figures, avoid self-plagiarism by citing and referencing any extracts copied or adapted from your thesis appropriately.

Publishing your whole thesis

If you intend to publish your thesis or are approached by a publisher, request a copy of the publishing agreement before signing it - make sure that publication is in your best interests and will not restrict your future use of the content.