Higher Degree Research Thesis by Publication

Higher Degree Research Thesis by Publication


The Higher Degree Research Thesis by Publication Guideline provides information to assist Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates in the preparation of a thesis including published or co-published material prepared during candidature.



This Guideline provides information to assist Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates in the preparation of a thesis including published or co-published material prepared during candidature.  A thesis prepared in journal article format adds value to the research student experience, encourages timely completion, enhances job prospects and improves the publication outputs and research ranking of the University.


Eligible Material
A thesis by publication may include relevant papers, including conference presentations, which have been published, accepted, submitted or prepared for publication for which at least half of the research has been undertaken during enrolment.  The papers should form a coherent and integrated body of work, which should be focused on a single thesis project or set of related questions or propositions.  These papers are one part of the thesis, rather than a separate component (or appendix).

Contribution by Co-Authors
These papers may be single author or co-authored.  The candidate must specify his/her specific contribution. The contribution of others to the preparation of the thesis or to individual parts of the thesis should be specified in the thesis Acknowledgments and/or in relevant footnotes/endnotes.  Where a paper has multiple authors, the candidate would usually be the principal author and evidence of this should appear in the appropriate manner for the discipline.  Examiners can then assess if the quality and extent of the candidate’s contribution warrant the award of the degree based on the standard criteria.

Number and Presentation of Papers
Each discipline will have a different number of publications that are acceptable as the substantive foundation for a thesis by publication. As a general rule a candidate will need to have enough papers to support the important findings from the research, presented in a logical and coherent way.  Most theses by publication have between 2 and 8 papers in combinations of sole and co-authored papers.  These papers will normally form thesis chapters and the chronological publication order may be quite different from the way they are sequenced in the thesis.

The length of the papers will reflect discipline requirements and journal guidelines. Although it is not necessary to reformat published works in a thesis, it is not enough simply to bind these publications together. The candidate needs to include a critical introduction to the work, sections that link the papers together, and a concluding section that synthesises the material as a whole. Above all, candidates must consider the coherence of the thesis as a whole, and the way in which each paper contributes to the overall thesis.

Preparing for a Thesis by Publication
Candidates and supervisors should plan a thesis by publication in relation to the timetable of the individual project and the writing conventions and publishing schedules of their discipline in order to make sure that research, writing and journal submission can be undertaken within standard candidature. For instance, in some science disciplines major journals have 10 editions in a year, whereas the major journals in education may publish biannually.
Although a thesis by publication may contain some repetition, it is expected that the repetition be minimal so as to facilitate the examination process.  Candidates should ensure that any referencing and stylistic inconsistencies between papers are minimised to assist the examiners.

Guideline Information

Contact OfficerDean, Higher Degree Research
Date Approved28 November 2013
Approval AuthorityHigher Degree Research Committee
Date of Commencement25 July 2014
Amendment History28 November 2013 – revised guideline approved by Higher Degree Research Committee
Date for Next Review25 July 2017
Related Documents

Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy / Procedure

KeywordsThesis by Publication, thesis with journal articles, thesis with papers, thesis co-authors, thesis co-publication.
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