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Do I Need Permission To Publish My Dissertation In The UK?

Published by at March 4th, 2024 , Revised On March 5, 2024

A dissertation holds significant value for researchers. As you consider sharing your work with a wide audience, a crucial question arises: “Do I need permission to publish my dissertation in the UK?” The answer, like many legal matters, involves a number of factors. You have to consider the copyrights and university regulations carefully. 


In the United Kingdom, copyright automatically applies to original creative works, including dissertations. This grants you, the author, the exclusive right to control various aspects of your work, including:

  • Copying your dissertation in any form (printed, digital, etc.)
  • Making copies of your work available to the public
  • Modifying your work to create new versions (e.g., book chapters, articles)

Therefore, in most cases, you do not need permission from anyone to publish your dissertation in the UK as you hold the copyright. However, in certain situations, you might need to explore further. 

University Regulations

While copyright gives you control over your dissertation, it is important to check the regulations of your university regarding publication. Some universities in the UK require you to:

  • Sign a copyright agreement where you grant the university non-exclusive rights to reproduce or distribute your work for educational purposes. 
  • Seek approval for specific forms of publication, especially if you are involved with research funders.

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Third Party Content & Copyright

Your dissertation might include elements not created by. For example, figures, data, quotations, and images from other sources. You have to be careful of their copyright status. 

  • For published material, you might need permission from the copyright holder.
  • For data and figures, check the sources and cite them properly
  • Unpublished work requires explicit consent of the owner to avoid copyright infringement. 

Additional Considerations

Some other points to consider include:


Some projects are subject to embargoes, which restrict publication for a set period. The reasons include patent applications or ongoing research collaborations. 

Open Access Publishing

You should consider open-access publishing options. It allows you to improve the reach and impact of your research. 


Yes, for published material, you may need permission from the copyright holder. Properly cite and attribute data, figures, quotations, and images from other sources.

Open-access publishing can enhance the reach and impact of your research, so it’s worth considering as an option.

No, not every dissertation gets published. Dissertations are academic works submitted by students to fulfil degree requirements. While some may be published as books or articles, many remain unpublished or are only accessible through university libraries. Publication depends on academic merit and the author’s intentions and efforts.

About Alvin Nicolas

Avatar for Alvin NicolasNicolas has a master's degree in literature and a PhD degree in statistics. He is a content manager at ResearchProspect. He loves to write, cook and run. Nicolas is passionate about helping students at all levels.