Self-plagiarism and published articles


Hello. I am currently working on an essay that I want to submit as a book chapter in a forthcoming volume. Of course, I have no idea if it will be accepted but I have a question for you. The article is based on data and research from my thesis (which so far only has two chapters) and I really wanted to also include this section (reworked) in my final thesis. Can I do this or is it self-plagiarism do use the same material? I don't want to fall foul of the university rules but am unsure what is allowed? Also if I am writing an article based on a PhD thesis should I "hide" the fact that it is from a thesis - would it look more professional to talk about a "research project" rather than a thesis? Sorry if these are rather obvious questions but I rarely get on to campus and never talk to other postgrads in real life so am unsure what is normal!! Thanks.


I have seen PhD theses with chapters that have been published elsewhere. The writer just indicates that a version of this chapter has been published in.......

I don't know about the other question that you ask....but I guess it is not "wrong" to say that it is part of an ongoing PhD research. I don't think that it would look less professional....But this is only my view.........



Regarding the point about 'hiding' the PhD bit, I've been advised that publishers do not like to read that research comes from part of a bigger work, i.e. a thesis, so I've never mentioned it. I just say that so-&-so paper arises from a two-year study into etc....

The self-plagiarism bit is, I admit, daunting! I cheerfully say that I've written 25,000 words of my thesis, but then realise I've effectively 'cut & paste' chunks of that into 1 published article & another awaiting approval, leaving me with some significant re-writes ahead. Oh joy!!

Avatar for Pootle

I too would be inclined to refer to a research project rather than a thesis.

Most universities specify that research submitted in a doctoral thesis must not have been submitted for any other academic award. I have never seen it stipulated that nothing should have been published, though. Quite a few PhDers seem to publish conference papers and journal articles based on their research well before they completely write up/submit. There should be regulations/guidelines available on your university website or from the Graduate Office so you can check. Go for it, and good luck!

P x


I agree with others, not heard of not being able to publish book chapters and thesis. To avoid self-plagiarism, just make sure that you re-work the whole thing and no two sentences are alike


Thank you everyone.


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