|Approved by||Board of Graduate Studies, 5 June 2014|
|Date Guideline Took Effect||5 June 2014|
|Last Approved Revision||29 September 2021|
|Sponsor||Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)|
|Responsible Officer||Dean, Graduate Research School|
|Review Date||29 September 2026|
Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.
The aim of these guidelines is to provide students, supervisors and other staff with information on the inclusion of a candidate’s own published material in a graduate research thesis.
These guidelines apply to all PhD and professional doctorate candidates.
- Published material
- Content, in this context arising from a candidate’s research towards their graduate research degree, formally or currently being made available to the public in a permanent form, for example conference proceedings, book chapters or journal articles.
- The University of Otago encourages publishing during candidature for a doctorate, and the inclusion of published material and/or work submitted for publication in theses where appropriate. Such published material must have been prepared during the candidate’s enrolment in the research degree.
- If candidates are planning to include published material in a thesis, they should discuss the most appropriate format for this with their supervisors. Practices differ across academic disciplines and it is important to obtain advice from experts within the relevant discipline.
- Two formats are commonly used for including published material in a University of Otago thesis:
- a hybrid thesis format, whereby published material is inserted either wholly or partially as chapters or sections in the thesis (usually with modification – see 2(a) below; or
- a thesis with publications appended, whereby published material is not included in the body of the thesis but is appended to the thesis in an unmodified format.
- For the PhD and professional doctorates, the University of Otago does not offer a formal “thesis by publication” option, whereby the thesis is composed solely of a portfolio of publications.
2. Thesis requirements
- The thesis must be an integrated and coherent body of work.
- It may be necessary to alter the format of published materials for inclusion in the thesis, including standardising formatting and/or deleting duplicated material.
- Publications included sequentially may need to be linked by short bridging sections.
- If the hybrid thesis contains multiple publications, candidates need to ensure that they have:
- provided an introductory chapter to the thesis that gives some background context and rationale for the research, as well as describing the structure of the thesis
- demonstrated their ability to critically engage with the literature, which may mean including a chapter (or substantive sections) critically reviewing the literature
- carefully considered their research design and justified choices of methodology and methods where necessary, which may mean including a chapter (or substantive sections) on research design
- synthesised and discussed the findings from the publications, which may necessitate including a discussion chapter (or substantive sections).
- Where published material is included, the thesis must include a “Co-authorship Form” placed after the thesis abstract.
- It is expected that for any published material presented in the body of the thesis, the candidate will be a lead author.
- It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that any published work (or parts thereof) included in the thesis comply with copyright provisions and that any guidelines with regard to self-citation are followed. More information on copyright is available on the University of Otago Library Thesis Information webpage.
3. Examination of the thesis
- The inclusion of published material in a thesis does not guarantee a pass in the degree for which the thesis is submitted. The thesis must stand on its own merits and will be assessed as a single document. Examiners may require changes to any part of the thesis regardless of whether that material has been previously published or not.
- All aspects of the thesis including publications and appendices are examinable and may be raised at an oral examination. For example, if a co-author of an included publication conducted some analyses, the candidate may be required to answer questions regarding those analyses.
Related Policies, Procedures and Forms
- Co-authorship form (DOCX)
- Examination and Assessment Regulations 2014
- Convening of Doctoral Examinations with an Oral Examination Procedure
- Convening of Doctoral Examinations without an Oral Examination Procedure
- Responsible Practice in Research – Code of Conduct
- Guidelines for Graduate Research Supervisors
- Allegations of Misconduct in Research Procedures
Contact for Further Information
If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, please contact:
The Dean, Graduate Research School