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Macdonald-Kelce Library

Institutional Repository

A guide to get you started on formatting and submitting your completed papers to the University of Tampa's Institutional Repository

Will publishing my dissertation open access immediately with no embargo affect the acceptance of publications derived from it?

Certain publishers in particular disciplines may consider dissertations to be prior publications, and/or limit their consideration of a subsequent journal article or book manuscript based on the dissertation. Some authors may therefore wish to embargo due to concern that open access availability will impact consideration of subsequent publications derived from their dissertations.

Note that this is untrue for the majority of publishers.

  • To the contrary, academic publishers typically view prior open access publication as a means to improve acceptance for a book deal due to increased awareness of your work.
  • While numbers vary significantly by discipline, a 2013 study on electronic theses and dissertations indicates that more than 90% of university presses will consider an open access dissertation for book publication. See also a similar 2011 survey. 
  • Keep in mind, too, that your dissertation will be revised and rewritten significantly if/when you shape it into a manuscript for a first book. Most publishers accordingly view this as entirely new work. 
  • If you are instead concerned about acceptance for future journal articles rather than books, take a look at the guidelines for the particular journals in which you're interested. For instance, Springer and Elsevier--which do not count theses as prior publications.

Ultimately, you should check with your advisors and the guidelines of the publishers you are considering. It is important to familiarize yourself with the policies in your field. 

Do I need permission to link to content, rather than include it?

No! It is not an infringement to link to content that has been uploaded lawfully.

If, however, you have reason to believe that the content you're linking to was uploaded in violation of copyright, then you should not link to it. Doing so could be construed as contributory infringement. In those circumstances, work through the Step 1 questions with respect to use of legitimate copies of the content, rather than linking to infringing online reproductions.

If it was fair use to publish in my dissertation, is it fair use to publish it in my first book?

Not necessarily.

For instance, one of the fair use factors takes into consideration whether your use is for non-profit educational purposes. Once you begin publishing a book and earning royalties, the commercial nature of the endeavor may weigh against fair use for that factor. You'll need to undertake Step 1 analysis again in its entirety when it comes time to publish your manuscript commercially, and determine whether you need permissions.

Keep in mind, too, that your publisher may--as a matter of policy, to protect itself--want you to obtain permissions irrespective of whether you believe use would have been fair without permission.

Are unpublished archival materials protected by copyright?

If they contained authored, original expressions, they were, and maybe still are, protected by copyright. But like any other copyrighted work, they may have entered the public domain. 

Unpublished works subject to copyright protection. However, the duration of copyright for unpublished works can differ based on whether they are signed, anonymous, etc. For more on copyright length for unpublished works, consult the discussion of Unpublished Works (Ch. 3.2.1) in Peter Hirtle's Copyright & Cultural Institutions book; see also 17 USC §§ 302, and 303

Keep in mind, too, that while unpublished works are not excluded from your use as fair use, what constitutes fair use of unpublished works may construed more narrowly by a court. 

How long are published foreign works protected by copyright?

If you're looking to use foreign works in your dissertation being published in the U.S., the general rule of thumb is that anything first published in a foreign country prior to 1923 has entered the public domain, and most everything else published abroad since then remains protected by copyright.

The more complex answer is that, for foreign works: Based on the nationality of the author and place of publication, one can calculate whether the foreign material has entered the public domain. Though, you don't have to--you can use the wonderful Cornell University Public Domain chart prepared by Peter Hirtle. Check out the section "Works First Published Outside the U.S. by Foreign Nationals or U.S. Citizens Living Abroad."

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