Scholarly Work & Dissertations by Students

butler-herodotus-hesiod

Apart from fair use and its application to students’ scholarly work, there are copyright issues specific to dissertation development and deposit. Students often become aware of latent copyright issues at the end of their dissertation process, sometimes as late as just prior to deposit. This unit attempts to address these issues and provide some guidelines in managing them.

Strategic planning and management of rights are essential in when drafting and completing a dissertation.  Below are some copyright questions you may want to ask yourself during the dissertation process to ensure that you track rights issues.


Managing rights information is similar to managing attribution or footnotes during the research process. This chapter on dissertations preparation and copyright provides you with an outline of the basic copyright issues you may face in researching and drafting your dissertation.  In addition, you should consider the following scenarios and questions:

Scenario I: Integrating the Work of Others

Q: Are you integrating work written or created by others in your dissertation?

A: If so, is it copyright protected? If not, then you may be able to reproduce it without further assessment.

Q: If the work being integrated is copyright protected, can you justify your use as a far one?

A: If so, then you may go ahead and reproduce the work but keep a copy of your notes about your fair use assessment and attribute the author of the work.

Q: If not fair use, then do I have permission?

A: You will have to seek permission by contacting the rights holders of the work you are integrating into your dissertation should such use not be considered a fair one.

Scenario II: Work Already Published

Q: Are you integrating work written or created by you but having already been published or released by a third party?

A: If so, is it copyright protected? If not, then you may be able to reproduce it without further assessment.

Q: If copyright protected, did you sign a publishing agreement and did you assign all or part of your rights to the publisher?

A: If you assigned part or all of your rights to the publisher, then you may have to contact the publisher to seek permission to integrate your work into dissertation so that it may also be distributed by ProQuest.

Scenario III: Works of Joint Authorship

Q: Are you integrating work that you created previously with a group of authors so that copyright in the work is owned by you but jointly with others?

Q: If so, was it published previously?

Q: Did you and the other authors assign your rights to the publisher?

A:: If not, then you may be able to integrate the work into your dissertation.

Q: If the copyrights were assisgned, did you retain the right to integrate your prior published work into your dissertation?

A: If so, then you have likely protected your rights adequately for dissertation purposes.  If not, you will have to seek permission from the publisher.

Q: Is your dissertation going to be published and will you be remunerated? 

A:  If so, then you need to consider your joint authors rights since they likely have rights in sharing in your remuneration.

As but one example, the Graduate School of Arts and Science, provides additional information on their website concerning dissertation development, fair use and permissions. The Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts has developed an excellent resource on managing copyright.  See the Resources list below.

 

Resources