While some universities have a separate set or rules and guidelines for theses formatted as a series of papers (also known as a thesis by publication), this is not the case at UWA. The rules and examination criteria at UWA are the same for all theses, so care must be taken to ensure that these rules are followed and the criteria are met.
You can format your thesis as a monograph, a series of papers, or a combination of chapters and papers. Any number of papers can be included in the thesis, and they can be at any stage of publication - from manuscript to published. As you can include manuscripts in your thesis, you should not delay thesis submission for peer review and publication. Many students use the period of thesis examination to finish publishing papers.
If you format your thesis as a series of papers, you will need to write a general introduction and a general conclusion for your thesis. The concluding chapter needs to draw together the main findings of the thesis and synthesise the significance of the results.
Care should be taken to ensure the thesis is coherent, and that any papers included in the thesis fit with the remainder of the thesis. Examiners can be critical of theses that consist of a series of disconnected papers or chapters. To improve coherence, students often include linking text or chapters.
You can include published papers in your thesis as they appear in the journal or the text version formatted for consistency with the remainder of your thesis. If the thesis research is mostly published, it may be more efficient to include the published papers. In many cases however, the published papers only form a small component of the thesis, or additional text is added to the paper for examination, or the manuscript of a paper is included rather than the final version of the paper that was edited to pass peer review. In these cases, published papers are often reformatted to match the remainder of the thesis.
- You may include your published work in the examination copy of your thesis provided it is no more than a “reasonable portion”. A journal article or textbook chapter would be a reasonable portion. You can find further details in the UWA library Guide to Copyright and Higher Degree Theses. Often your publishing contract will allow you to include the whole of your published work in a thesis, so you should double-check there first.
- If your thesis is publicly available on the UWA Research Repository, some publishers may consider your research to be pre-published and may not wish to re-publish any of the work. If a publisher will not publish your research after it has been made public, you may wish to consider applying for your thesis to be embargoed, giving publishers the opportunity to be the first to publish your research.
For more information, see the UWA library Guide to Copyright and Higher Degree Theses.
More information about formatting a thesis as a series of papers is available at the Thesis Writing workshop. You can download the workshop booklet at any time and register to attend from the GRS Events Calendar.
If you have very specific questions, you can book an appointment to meet with a Graduate Education Officer.