I am in the final phase of my Ph.D. research. I need to defend my thesis before my fellowship funding runs out in a few months.

I won't have time to carefully prepare and polish my results for journal papers before I defend. I need to include some preliminary, unpublished results in my thesis, as per the work I agreed to do in my thesis proposal.

But is submitting results (to a journal) that are already "published" in my Ph.D. thesis an issue? One issue I'm wondering about: journals run a "plagiarism" check, and I wonder if "self-plagiarism" will be an issue.

  • The short answer is no, your thesis definitely does not count as published. Otherwise the vast majority of students would be in trouble.
    – SPPearce
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 19:58

2 Answers 2


Good question! No, your thesis does not count as published (yay). Self-plagiarism is definitely not an issue here. Good on you for clarifying though!


Most institutions will allow you to embargo your thesis publication for a period of time (in my university, up to 2 years) if there are grounds for commercial sensitivity or if you have a publication pending. This facility exists precisely for this reason, it's likely your university will let you do it. When I requested it, it was an option on the final thesis submission form, I ticked a box and that was it.

Even if you can't do this (and virtually all universities will let you), you'll probably be fine. Embargoing is really for if you've got some super sensitive results (e.g. if you're a known researcher in a hot field and you're afraid someone is going to gazump your work) or if there are IP issues with your work (e.g. you're starting a business based on your results).

This shouldn't affect your award date in any way. In my case I asked for 6 months to write up a paper, that time hasn't elapsed yet, but I've got my bit of paper already.

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