What concerns may arise if I copied figures from my approved thesis for submission of research article. This may happen to many during their final months in lab. My thesis is submitted to the University. Shall I have copyright on my accepted thesis or my University will have? I am not sure if I need to reuse that content who will provide permission for doing so?

  • Please edit your question to clarify: 1) Is this about novelty or copyright? 2) Is your thesis published or will it be? 3) Why are you focussing on figures? Unless we are talking about explanatory sketches or similar, the research leading to these figures should be the same as well.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Nov 11, 2017 at 12:20
  • @Wrzlprmft I included unpublished data into my thesis. We are now planning to communicate it as a research article. Nov 11, 2017 at 12:31
  • Nobody here can answer whether you or your university have the copyright on your work. It depends on what contracts you signed, what employment status you had, and possibly your jurisdiction (e.g., is there an automatic copyright transfer in an employment situation?). Anyway, do you have any reason to suspect that your university does not want you to publish your results?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Nov 11, 2017 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


This is a quite common situation, so it will most likely be OK. The main points you will need to check are the following:

  • What copyright are you assigning your institution? The universities I have dealt with in the past all asked for a non-exclusive license, meaning you can publish all or portions of your thesis again if you want to. However, your institute's policies may differ; check your handbook or ask the administration.

  • Will your thesis count as a prior publication? This will depend on the venue you submit your paper to. In some places the thesis is even formally published (and has an ISBN assigned to it), which may increase the likelihood that the journal or conference will consider this work as already published. Check the venue's rules for submission and if necessary ask the editor before submitting your paper.

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