Frequently asked questions

What are my copyright responsibilities regarding publication of my thesis and journal articles?

You are responsible for ensuring that you have all the copyright rights to include any material (such as images, diagrams, graphs, your published articles etc - including material you adapt) whose copyright belongs to others in your thesis for publication by the University on Griffith Research Online. If you do not have the copyright rights then you must either redact this material from your thesis or put an embargo on the publication of your thesis until you obtain the rights. You can request an embargo through thesisexams@griffith.edu.au. Note that you should also redact your signature from your thesis before publication to prevent identity theft.

In addition, when submitting an article to a journal for publication, under your publication agreement, you will be normally be responsible for getting all the copyright rights when including any material whose copyright belongs to others.

Do I own the copyright in my research?

You normally own the copyright in your thesis, articles and research data. On publishing your articles, you normally hand over (assign) the copyright to your journal publisher. However this can be negotiated as copyright transfer is not essential for publication.

Can I include my published articles when submitting my thesis?

There is no issue including your published articles in your thesis for marking only. But when submitting your thesis with articles for publication on Griffith Research Online, you are permitting Griffith to publish articles whose copyright will normally belong to the journal publishers. This will rarely be a problem if you follow the advice in the Articles in Thesis guide. Otherwise you are responsible for redact the material from your thesis for publication.

Should I include in my thesis my article that isn't yet published? What if I want to publish a book from my thesis?

There is no issue here when submitting your thesis for marking only. But when submitting your thesis to Griffith for publication on Griffith Research Online, you are permitting Griffith to publish your thesis, including your article 12 months after your thesis has been marked. There are journal publishers which will not accept material that has previously been published. So when submitting your thesis for publication on Griffith Research Online, you may need to redact your article which is yet to be published, or put an embargo on the publication of your thesis. If you intend to publish a book from your thesis, you may need to embargo the publication of your thesis. Seek additional advice from the Information Policy Officer.

Can I publish my working papers and conference papers as journal articles?

Some publishers consider working papers and conference papers that are published on the web as prior publication (particularly if they have been peer reviewed), and could therefore refuse to publish these papers as an article.  So check with your publisher and plan how, and where you publish.

Can I use material belonging to others in my thesis and journal articles?

There is no issue if you wish to include images, diagrams, graphs, charts, maps, words (and other material you sourced from the internet or elsewhere) in your thesis for marking only.

However you need to take care if you wish to include such material in your journal articles or in your thesis when submitting this for publication on Griffith Research Online. Sometimes copyright law will allow you to use this material. At other times, the easiest path is to use material with a suitable Creative Commons licence or other open licence. Otherwise, you must get written permission from the copyright owner to include the material. As your thesis and articles will be published, this is your sole responsibility. If you cannot get permission or a licence to include this material in your thesis for publication on Griffith Research Online, you will need to redact the material from your thesis before publication.

What is Creative Commons material and why use it?

Creative Commons material is material that creators allow others to use under various conditions. Often you can simply use (and often adapt) diagrams, images, maps, sketches or photographs from the internet with a Creative Commons license in your articles and thesis without needing to get permission from the copyright owner. Remember to reference where you sourced the Creative Commons material.

How can I find Creative Commons material for my research publications?

Find the material you want on CC Search. (Best to tick both boxes below the search bar to source material with a CC BY or CC BY SA licence – as both these CC licences will allow you to adapt and publish this material in your articles and thesis on Griffith Research Online.) Note that a CC non-commercial (NC) licence will not permit you to include the material in articles or books published by commercial publishers.

Do I need permission to quote text?

You may quote up to a paragraph (from another article or book) in your articles or thesis for publication on Griffith Research Online. If you want to quote more, you should get permission from the copyright owner.

Can I use any material from the internet in my thesis and articles?

It’s best to presume that all material on the internet has copyright protection. Check the website’s “Terms of Use” or the licence (attached to the material) to see if you are permitted to include the material in your article or in your thesis for publication on Griffith Research Online. Otherwise get permission to use the material.

What if I am criticising or reviewing for example a painting or diagram?

You may sometimes include an image of a painting or diagram in your thesis or article (without needing to get permission from the copyright owner) if you are directly criticising or reviewing this work. Seek advice from the Information Policy Officer.

Can I change a diagram or image and put this in my articles or thesis?

When adapting material (such as text or a diagram) you need to get permission from the copyright owner, unless the material has a CC licence or other open licence that allows you to do so. If the copyright owner is not the creator, you may need to get permission from the creator as well as the copyright owner to adapt the work. If you draw an image, diagram or map using other material as inspiration and your work looks substantially like this original material, you will need permission from the copyright owner to include this new work in your articles or thesis for publication on Griffith Research Online. Often it’s easier to start from scratch and create your own original work. Seek advice from the Information Policy Officer.

When and how do I ask for permission to use material from others?

If your use does not fit under the above examples, you will need permission from the copyright owner to include the material in your articles or thesis for publication on Griffith Research Online (though the owner will rarely charge a fee for inclusion in a thesis). Note that you do not need permission to include such material in your thesis for marking only. If you cannot get permission or a licence, you will then need to redact the material from your thesis before publication.

When seeking to use figures, diagrams etc from a published journal article, you will normally need to go through RightsLink to get permission or a licence. Most online articles have near them a “Get Rights” or “Get Permissions” link. Click on this, and you will be taken to RightsLink. Sometimes the fee to use a figure can be as high as $800. However, before paying this, firstly check the STM Permissions Guidelines. If both the publisher of the journal containing the figure, and the journal publisher you intend to publish with, are on the STM Permissions Guidelines list, contact your publisher to seek a fee waiver.

How can I get assistance?

Contact the Information Policy Officer on copyright@griffith.edu.au or 373 55695.