Electronic Thesis & Dissertation

Copyright and Previously Published Materials


Date/Time: TBA
Topic: Previously Published and Copyrighted Material in your Thesis or Dissertation

Workshop Recording

Hosted by USF Libraries, LeEtta Schmidt (Contact for more Copyright information)

Copyright Questions?

Additional questions may be directed to LeEtta Schmidt, Copyright and Intellectual Property Librarian, via email at lmschmidt@usf.edu.

Email Copyright Librarian

previously published materials

ETDs often include material created by others. A few common examples are: figures, tables, rubrics, surveys, and portions of previously published articles.

It is important to contact the copyright holder (either the creator, or if published, the publisher) to ask for permission. Once approval (email or letter) is obtained, a copy needs to be inserted into the Appendix. Note that the source should also be cited within the manuscript body, using, if prescribed, the language that the publisher requires.

In some cases, the Fair Use Exception may allow you to include the materials without permission, but the distinction between fair use and copyright infringement is not clearly defined. When using the Fair Use Exception, the completed fair use worksheets should be included in the appendix of the thesis or dissertation.

The USF Library can help clarify copyright and fair use policies and assist with obtaining permissions. They've created several helpful guides and worksheets:

If you determine an item is considered fair use using the Fair Use Worksheet, please include the worksheets in your appendices.

Additional questions may be directed to LeEtta Schmidt, Copyright and Intellectual Property Librarian, via email at lmschmidt@usf.edu.

Previously published personal work

All previously published work from the author of the thesis/dissertation must be disclosed if it is reproduced in the ETD. Students should consult with the USF Library on obtaining copyright approval and be familiar with the USF Policy on this issue.

NOTE: If an article or chapter is being submitted for review by a publication/journal, but has not been published by the day you turn in the committee-approved manuscript to Graduate Studies, you are not required to seek copyright permission. You may, if you like, still include a Note to Reader or footnote that it is being submitted for review, currently in review, or even accepted by the publication, as long as it has not been published.


If permission has been granted to use the previously published work within the ETD, it should be disclosed as "A Note to Reader" as the first appearing second-order heading of the chapter where the work is utilized, or as a footnote in the chapter where the work is utilized. This includes your own work if previously published.

Multiple Authors

If work being utilized in the ETD involves multiple authors, the ETD author must be the first author of said publication(s) and the level of work contributed by each author should be disclosed, either in the Note to Reader or footnote.

Permission Documents

The documents obtained from the publisher must be included as a part of the Appendices.

Inclusion of Reprints in the Appendix

If PDF reprints of published articles are included in the Appendices, they should be placed in the last Appendix Chapter. Reprints are required to have page numbers (even if the reprints have page numbers from the original source as well).

NOTE: The inclusion of reprints will likely require copyright approval.

Use of Photography