EDOC A compilation of articles published

When a thesis is made of published articles

A thesis containing a compilation of articles published (or submitted for publication) in scientific journals is possible on condition that it contains:

  • an introduction that puts the entière thesis into context and gives a global objectives of the research to be presented in the thesis (a thesis must have a red line that connects the different papers/chapters together).
  • a general conclusion chapter, summurazing the main contributions of the thesis
  • a section presenting possibilities for future development of the work presented in the thesis

Each section that was, or is to be, published as an article must comprise on its first page

  • a complete list of authors
  • a detailed description of the doctoral candidate’s contribution
  • a full bibliographic reference available

CDoct 109 (November 2015) and CDoct 110 (January 2016) (Regulation)

Permission to reproduce

For a thesis made of articles, the good practice consists in contacting the publisher to ask permission to reproduce the article in the thesis. The publisher will not refuse and it keeps the student safe from any further problem with the publisher who is in the majority of cases the copyright holder.

Likewise, where an article is signed by two or more authors, an authorization to publish should be obtained from their respective authors.

Good to know
  • There is no minimum number or maximum number of articles
  • It is not required to be the first author
  • Scientific journal or literary magazine, the rules are the same

Theses made of published articles

Note from the EPFL Library

More and more frequently, theses are partly or completely built as assemblies of articles already published in scientific journals (profit-making or non-profit-making). Most of the time, publishers forbid the distribution of articles in their final format.

In order to avoid problems that would hinder its mission as the official distributor of EPFL theses, the Library asks the authors who want to include published articles in their thesis to comply with the following guideline :

  • The thesis must not include, even as an appendix, articles with the publisher’s layout unless the author has obtained an explicit permission to do so and that it is mentioned at the beginning of the thesis chapter.

Instead of the publisher version of the article, we recommend to always use :

  • The preprint, i.e. the version of the manuscript submitted to the journal before peer-reviewing.
  • The postprint, i.e. the version accepted for publication. It includes additional corrections, suggested by the reviewers (as accepted by the publisher). The content is the same as the publisher version except for the final layout.

Whatever the version you choose (preprint or postprint), a mention like « postprint version of the article published in… » or « preprint version of the article submitted to… » must be added and include a link to the published article using the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) that eases the work for the reader.

The use of the preprint and postprint versions ensures that the copyright is respected and guarantees the free distribution of EPFL theses.
Lausanne, March 2017/EPFL Library/[email protected]