Electronic Thesis & Dissertation

Copyright and Previously Published Materials

previously published materials

ETDs often include material created by others - whether it's a figure or table, a rubric, a survey or even portions of a previously published article.

In nearly all cases, you should contact the copyright holder (either the creator, or if it's been published, the publisher) to ask for permission. Once you have the approval (email or letter), you should include a copy in the Appendix and cite the source 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. And you must include the completed fair use worksheets in the appendix of your thesis or dissertation.

The USF Library can help with further explaining copyright and fair use, along with assisting 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.

You can contact LeEtta Schmidt, USF's copyright 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 either "A Note to Reader" as the first, second order heading of the chapter where the work is utilized or as a footnote to the chapter where the work is utilized.

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) and must meet margin requirements.

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