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Research Guides

Submit and Publish Your Thesis

Publishing from your thesis before or after graduation

"Will repository submission affect my publishing plans?"

... this is a common question for someone looking to publish from their thesis before or after graduation.

Most journals welcome submissions based on a thesis or dissertation. Some may have additional requirements, such as to:

  • Let them know about the university’s requirement to make your thesis publicly available
  • Submit a manuscript that is substantially different than the thesis content
  • Embargo the thesis until after publication, etc.

Your steps will depend on the following scenarios:

Scenario 1 - you ARE NOT planning on publishing your thesis before or after graduation

In this case:

  1. You can submit your thesis without an embargo
  2. Your thesis will become publicly available in TSpace and Library and Archives Canada after your convocation and will be widely indexed via search engines and indexes
  3. Use the TSpace-generated permanent URL to share and cite your thesis - see example of such citation below
Tajdaran, K. (2015). Enhancement of Peripheral Nerve Regeneration with Controlled Release of Glial Cell Line-derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) (Master’s Thesis, University of Toronto). Retrieved from

Scenario 2 - You ARE planning on publishing your thesis AFTER graduation

Most journals are interested in “original, previously unpublished” research. Some journals consider theses as a form of “prior publications”, others do not, and the majority does not have a clear definition. It will be best to check journal policy before you submit your thesis.

  1. Check if the journal has special provisions with regards to a paper based on the openly available thesis. For example, Nature's policy is:
    Nature Research will consider submissions containing material that has previously formed part of a PhD or other academic thesis which has been published according to the requirements of the institution awarding the qualification.

    ►►►How to check journal policies:

    • MIT Libraries' list of policy excerpts from major publishers
    • Journal’s website - usually under Information for Authors or Copyright / Permissions or Editorial Policy; or in the publication agreement if available online
    • If such information cannot be located online, contact the editors directly

  2. If the journal requires that you place an embargo on your thesis until after publication, see the SGS instructions on how to request an embargo on your thesis.

Scenario 3 - You ARE planning on publishing (or have already published) from your thesis BEFORE graduation

You may want or be expected to publish parts of your thesis before your thesis is submitted, such as with an integrated/publication-based/sandwich thesis. The most important thing to keep in mind here is copyright. You own copyright of your written materials, and a publisher may require copyright transfer of your manuscript.

You need to ensure you retain certain rights or obtain permission in order to satisfy the university’s requirement of making your thesis openly accessible via TSpace, ProQuest and Library and Archives Canada (LAC). For more details on these repositories, see the Review and Release section of this guide.

  1. Check whether the journal requires prior notification about U of T’s open access requirement for theses. Some journals want to be notified of this mandate whether or not they restrict the re-use of articles in theses.

  2. Check whether the publisher requires copyright transfer. This should be stated on their website, in the publication agreement, or you can inquire directly with the journal.

If the publisher does not require copyright transfer, i.e. author retains copyright, then you can reuse your article/chapter in your thesis; no permission needed.

If the publisher requires copyright transfer, follow these steps:

  1. Check if the publisher has special provisions for reusing your published work in your thesis. They may permit the inclusion of a non-final version, such as your submitted or accepted manuscript. See more below on understanding different article versions for sharing.

    ►►►How to check journal policies: See MIT Libraries' list of policy excerpts from major publishers or the journal/publisher website.

    For example, Taylor and Francis policy allows to:

    Include your article Author’s Original Manuscript (AOM) or Accepted Manuscript(AM), depending on the embargo period in your thesis or dissertation. The Version of Record cannot be used.

  2. Check if the article is distributed under a Creative Commons license. This may allow re-use.

    ►►►How to check journal's CC license: See the journal/publisher website or contact the journal directly.

  3. If the publisher requires copyright transfer, has no special provisions and does not publish under a CC license, you will need to contact them to request permission to include your article in your thesis. You can:

    • Negotiate making the article available as part of the thesis in TSpace, ProQuest, and LAC Theses Portal; 
    • Request an embargo [link to Lisa’ section on embargo] if the publisher only permits open sharing after some time post-publication;
    • If permission is denied you may include in place of the chapter an abstract and a link to the article on the journal website.

If you have specific questions about your situation, publisher policy or author rights, contact the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office at for a consultation (best before you publish!)

Understanding different versions of a published article

A publisher may distinguish between the versions of an article that you may be allowed to include in your thesis:

  • Submitted manuscript / pre-print - version you initially send in (often permitted)
  • Accepted manuscript / post-print - version after peer review but before copyediting, layout editing, formatting, etc. (sometimes permitted; publisher may require an embargo/access restriction for a period of time)
  • Version of record / final publisher’s PDF - version that appears in the journal (many publishers do not permit sharing this version)

►►►How to check article versions permitted for sharing:

  • MIT Libraries’s list of policy excerpts from major publishers
  • Sherpa/RoMEO database of publisher policies
  • Journal’s website - usually under Information for Authors or Copyright/Permissions or Editorial Policy; or in the publication agreement if available online
  • If such information cannot be located online, contact the editors directly