I do not have any prior experience of publishing any kind of research material, it would be a huge favour if you can give your comments in the following matter:

In a thesis related to Seismic Image Processing, the author has proposed a method for Automatic Fault Detection, I have implemented that method and I have improved the results of the method by introducing some more equations.

My question is, given the above situation can I publish my findings ? and how should I quote that thesis in the publication ?

Any suggestion/comment/idea is welcome. Thanks!

  • 1
    Hi Ahmed and welcome to Academia.SE; What makes you think you cannot publish your work?
    – seteropere
    Nov 29, 2013 at 5:52
  • I am thinking this because of the fact that I have improved the results of a 'thesis' ? Seems like I am wrong :D Another fear in this regard is what if somebody has already done the improvement I have done ?
    – ahmed34234
    Nov 29, 2013 at 6:26
  • 1
    @ahmed34234, is the PhD thesis your own or someone else's?
    – Carl
    Nov 29, 2013 at 9:33
  • @Carl The thesis is not written by me, it is a Phd thesis whereas I have just done my bachelors :D
    – ahmed34234
    Nov 29, 2013 at 12:08
  • just remember to cite that piece of thesis and you are good to go. Nov 30, 2013 at 15:34

2 Answers 2


This is standard practice. Someone does work and publishes it. Someone, possibly same people, but not necessarily, improves on the work and publish that. The fact that it is a thesis should make no difference, so long as the work being improved upon reflects the state of the art.

  • Hi, Thanks for the reply, I have one more query: Should I also refer the research papers which are being referred to in that thesis ?
    – ahmed34234
    Dec 2, 2013 at 10:17
  • Refer to paper following the usual conventions. Dec 2, 2013 at 11:12
  • @ahmed34234 Refer to them if you use the material in them; don't if you don't. Jun 17, 2014 at 19:19

The best practice would be, IMHO, to contact that person, discuss your ideas with them, and make a common paper with them. In general, they will be interested in it (if they stayed in science), and you're sure you don't offend them or anyone. At least for me (in Math/CS), this is the way to go if you really "improve" some other's work. It might be a bit different if you "build on" their results.

You quote the thesis as any other source:

John Doe. My most stupid work on Josh phenomenon. PhD Thesis, University of Neverland, Nevercity, 2013.

(These are the mandatory fields. You can add ISBN, number of pages etc. if you wish.)

In BibTeX, it should be:

@phdthesis { doe_2013,
  author = {Doe, John},
  title = {My Most Stupid Work on {J}osh Phenomenon},
  publisher = {University of Neverland, Nevercity},
  year = {2013},
  pages = {666}
  • 1
    If you're improving on somebody else's work, there's no obligation whatsoever to invite them to collaborate on this improvement. Especially when, as described in the question, the follow-up work has already been done. The author of the thesis gets their credit by way of citation. Jun 17, 2014 at 19:18

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