Publishing during candidature

Information about including publications in your thesis and developing a publication and authorship plan.

Including publications in your thesis

Submission requirements

The submission must include a thesis or dissertation, which provides the:

a) Purpose
b) Scholarly or practical context of the research
c) Process and methodology
d) Presentation of the results, analysis and conclusions of the research.

The thesis submission may also include components such as research outputs and artefacts, for example: published articles, creative works, software and professional reports or policy documents.

With respect to including these in the thesis, publications:

  • Must have been completed under supervision during the period of enrolment for the degree, including transferred candidature
  • Must not have been submitted previously, in whole or in part, for any other academic award
  • Must be declared when submitting for examination by completing the Research Outputs Declaration (PDF, 126KB).

With respect to co-authorship (for candidates submitting after 1 January 2023) the following also apply:

  • It is expected that the candidate is the main contributor and/or lead author. Their contribution must be significant, in that they are responsible for the key ideas, for undertaking the research and writing the publication
  • If the candidate is not the lead author of a publication, the lead author must sign a declaration on behalf of the co-authors and included in the thesis or dissertation.

For further information about submission requirements, refer to the HDR Submission & Examination Procedure and the Submission and examination page.

Research integrity responsibilities

Publications must comply with research integrity requirements. Research integrity is the coherent and consistent adherence to a set of principles that underpin the excellence and trustworthiness of research. This includes reporting research fully and honestly. See the Principles of Research Integrity at RMIT, and RMIT Dissemination of Research Outputs Procedure.


Thesis structure and format

Publications can be included in part or in full, and if published, verbatim or re-formatted.

The overall length of the thesis and number of publications included may vary between disciplines. Candidates should consult with their supervisors and HDR DA regarding the normal standards in their discipline.

Thesis coherence and argument

The structure and organising logic of the thesis needs to satisfy the submission requirements. This includes providing:

  • A comprehensive account of the research beyond what is included in publications (which may only tell part of the story)
  • An explanation to the examiners regarding the contribution of the candidate to the publications submitted for examination.

Back-to-back publications book-ended by an introduction and a conclusion is insufficient. Instead, the thesis would usually include additional discussion and intermediate sections linking the publications together and telling the story. For example, where publications occupy whole chapters:

  • The thesis introductory chapter should provide a detailed explanation of:
    • How all the parts of the thesis fit together
    • Which chapters or parts thereof are comprised of publications, and
    • The role of the candidate in writing the publications
  • Each chapter of the thesis should include an introduction:
    • Explaining the conceptual links between the chapters to ensure coherence, and
    • Providing extended discussion of analysis and or findings beyond what is included in publications
  • At the end of the thesis, it is recommended that a complete list of references is included to aid coherence.


It is acceptable to include co-authored publications in the thesis, for example, with supervisors and other candidates. Where publications are included in the thesis, the candidate (whose thesis it is):

  • Would usually be the main contributor and/or lead author
  • The contribution would be significant and substantial. This means candidates have been responsible for the key ideas, doing the research and writing the publication.

It is also acceptable for candidates who are co-lead authors to use the same publication within their respective theses. As per comments above about thesis coherence and argument, this would be explained to examiners in the thesis.

If a publication is included in the thesis in which the candidate is not the lead author, detailed explanation and justification must be provided.

Co-authors need to provide permission by completing the Research Outputs Declaration (PDF, 126KB).


Some elements, such as methodology, literature review and bibliography, may be repeated within each publication. Examiners are likely to understand justifiable repetition. Unnecessary repetition, however, should be avoided.

Copyright and examination

For the purposes of examination, candidates do not need permission to include copyright works in their thesis to which they have contributed.

Once the submission has been classified as passed, however, the candidate will need to prepare the archival version for lodgement to the RMIT Research Repository. This will need to acknowledge copyright of publications. For further information see here and the RMIT Library copyright guide.


It is strongly recommended that examiners are briefed to expect a thesis incorporating publications as this may be new to some examiners. It is the supervisors’ role to do this as part of the examiner selection process. The RMIT guidelines provided to examiners explain that it is acceptable to include publications in the thesis.

Authorship of research outputs

Use the Research Publication and Authorship Plan (PDF, 295KB) to guide you in discussing your future research outputs with your supervisors.

Key terms

The term 'publication' is used broadly to denote:

  • Published journal article or book chapter
  • Manuscript prepared for publication
  • Professional report, policy document or other grey literature.
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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.