Publication and authorship

Publication and Authorship

The general community benefits greatly through the new knowledge generated by Higher Degree by Research students and it is important that benefit to society be made available through publication.

Publishing from Your Thesis

The general expectation is that you should seek to publish results from your research in academic journals. Your supervisors will normally mentor you through this process. You will need to consider whether to try to publish during your candidature or wait until completion. There are advantages and disadvantages for both choices and your supervisors will help you in making this decision.

Vanity presses

Higher degree research (HDR) students or recent graduates, may receive unsolicited emails from companies offering to publish their thesis. Some of these ‘publishers’ or ‘vanity presses’, provide limited or no editorial input, i.e. they don’t provide peer-review, editorial or proof-reading support, marketing or distribution of the book. They generate income by either charging up-front publishing fees, or by the sale of copies to the author.

Publishing your thesis with a ‘vanity press’ such as Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP)** may result in:

  • the loss of Copyright to your work, restricting further publishing from your research in books, conference proceedings or journal articles
  • a poor quality publication that doesn’t meet the requirements of reporting for the  Research Outputs Collection (ROC)
  • loss of academic credibility / reputation having published with a ‘vanity press’
  • an imprint of VDM Publishing

It is always recommended that you carefully research and evaluate the credibility of a publisher before accepting an offer to publish your thesis. You need to consult with your supervisor and/or the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies before making any decision.

Library faculty liaison staff can also often provide advice about publishers to avoid.

Authorship Protocols and Guidelines

HDR candidates and supervisors should agree on authorship of a publication at an early stage in the research project and should review their decisions periodically.

In considering publishing from your thesis decisions must be made about attribution of authorship. The issue that arises is whether you are the sole author of any resulting publications or whether the authorship should be jointly attributed with supervisors or others.

Attribution of authorship depends to some extent on the discipline, but in all cases, authorship must be based on substantial contributions in a combination of:

  • conception and design of the project;
  • analysis and interpretation of research data;
  • drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation.

Authorship should not be offered to those who do not meet the requirements set out above. For example, none of the following contributions, in and of themselves, justifies including a person as a co-author:

  • being head of department, holding other positions of authority, or personal friendship with the HDR candidate;
  • providing a technical contribution but no other intellectual input to the project or publication;
  • providing routine assistance in some aspects of the project, the acquisition of funding or general supervision of the research team;
  • providing data that has already been published or materials obtained from third parties, but with no other intellectual input.

A HDR candidate should be the principal author of publications emerging from a thesis with supervisors, where appropriate, taking second author status. Second author status is obligatory if the supervisor/s designates the primary variables or makes interpretative contributions or provides the database; is a courtesy if the supervisor/s designates the general area or substantially contributes to design; and is not acceptable if the supervisor only provides encouragement, physical resources, financial support, critiques or editorial contribution.

In the last case, supervisors should be acknowledged in the acknowledgments section. There are some circumstances where the supervisor may be the principal author but where this occurs it must be with the HDR candidate's written approval. If research supervisors use contracts with their HDR candidates it would appropriate to include a statement of authorship.

Intellectual property

The outline below extracts from the Charles Sturt University intellectual property policy content relevant to HDR candidates.

Ownership by Students

In the absence of a specific contract to the contrary, students, including HDR candidates, own the intellectual property which they invent. Normally Charles Sturt does not encourage the involvement of students in commercial activities. However, it recognises that there may be exceptions when postgraduate and honours students may benefit from and contribute to consulting, contract research, collaborative research and professional practice.

In particular, where intellectual property is concerned:

students shall have a right to have their thesis or other work examined;

  • students shall have the right to submit their thesis and work for publication except where, for reasons of confidentiality, the Vice-Chancellor obtains the agreement of the supervisors and the student to restrict public access to the work for a limited period, usually not exceeding eighteen (18) months; and
  • staff who are supervisors of a student shall report on the intellectual property disclosure form to the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies and to the student:
  • as soon as it becomes apparent to them that work under supervision contains intellectual property to which the University may have a claim;
  • where a student has an agreement or employment arrangement with a third party who may claim rights; or
  • where a student at enrolment brings intellectual property to be used in candidature.

Ownership vests in Charles Sturt in the following exceptions to student ownership:

  • where a student participates as part of a team with Univeristy staff in consulting, contract research or collaborative research;
  • where a student uses pre-existing intellectual property owned by Charles Sturt;
  • where a student is a co-author with a member of staff in work which is commercial or confidential;
  • where a student is a co-inventor with a member of staff, whether the invention is patented or not; or
  • where a student works as part of a research team in a Co-operative Research Centre.

In these circumstances the Vice-Chancellor may require the student to assign their intellectual property rights to the University.

Charles Sturt University through the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies shall advise students of their rights and promptly alert them to any hindrance to ownership of intellectual property or publication. Students shall have access to the Intellectual Property and Outside Professional Activities Committee.

Using materials created by others

While it is acceptable to include copyright material created by others in your thesis for assessment, you will need to seek permission from the copyright owners to include that material in the print and digital copies submitted to the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies.

Insubstantial portions of text such as quotes can be published in your thesis without the need to obtain permission, however this does not include tables, graphs, images, etc. They are considered to be separate individual works and you must identify and seek permission from the copyright owner to reproduce or communicate their work in your thesis as well as any publication where you include their work. Seeking permission can take time so it is recommended that you begin the process as you identify the materials you would like to include. Further information on the use of copyright material created by others can be obtained from the Charles Sturt Copyright Website or by contacting the Charles Sturt Copyright Coordinator.


The use of copyright has major implications for Students and it's use can be varied and complicated.

The Copyright for Students website contains a range of information and resources to assist you to understand these implications and how to best utilise copyright.  It includes:

  • Copyright for Students
  • Your Own Work
  • The Work of Others
  • Fair Dealing for Research or Study
  • Articles
  • Literary, Dramatic, Musical or Artistic Works
  • Audio-visual Items
  • Limits to Protection under Fair Dealing
  • Moral Rights

You may also contact the Copyright Coordinator who is an expert in this field, who can provide specific information.