It's becoming common in the natural sciences for grad students to include papers they have previously published as part of their dissertation as a "sandwich thesis" or "stapled thesis". Some joke about merely "stapling three papers together with an intro and conclusion" and calling it a dissertation. This allows grad students to focus on doing research rather than writing a monolithic document in addition to any other publications.
This practice -- though I love the intent -- concerns me because I care about copyright issues. If I've published a paper, the publisher has the copyright, so I may not be able to use my own work in a dissertation that gets published.
Assuming that this practice is approved of by one's dissertation committee and university, how might one go about doing this correctly? What legal requirements might there be?
Although the following list of questions might be best split into multiple questions on this site, my intent is to clarify what kinds of procedures I'm asking about.
- Which Creative Commons licenses would permit this?
- Would one need to ask permission from the publisher(s) of the paper(s)? (I assume so....)
- Does it matter whether or not the manuscript(s) are published under an open-access license?
- Does it matter how the dissertation is published?
- If this is allowed under any circumstances, how much modification is appropriate? Would the paper(s) need to be reproduced in their published form (i.e. with the publisher's typesetting et al.), or could the author copy-paste the text into their dissertation with new formatting?
I acknowledge that this question is similar to Can I use the work in my journal/conference publications as chapters in my dissertation?. Whereas that question broadly asked whether such a practice was permissible, I'm asking more about how to handle copyright issues — assuming one's committee and institution are okay with it.