Your copyright in your thesis

You will need to apply a Creative Commons license to your thesis.

Normally, you own the copyright in your thesis as a 'scholarly work'. This means that you own the rights to publish and distribute it.

This may not be the case if:

  • you have agreed to transfer or assign copyright to a funder or sponsor
  • there has been significant input from University staff.

If you're not sure, speak to your supervisors or contact Kent Innovation and Enterprise.

Having your thesis in the Kent Academic Repository provides evidence of your authorship, because it creates an institutionally recognised bibliographic record.

Anyone who accesses your thesis in KAR can re-use material from it for non-commercial research or private study, but they:

  • must provide a full citation for your thesis
  • must not re-use the material in a way that breaches copyright or other intellectual property rights.

We recommend that you choose a Creative Commons licence which will define exactly how others may use your work.

Creative Commons

When you deposit your thesis you must choose a licence so that when it is openly available anyone who wants to read and use your work is aware of how you want it to be used

Creative Commons is an internationally recognised way of licensing material to encourage sharing and re-use, while protecting the rights of the creators. Creative Commons offer a standard range of licences. They are made up of different components. For example:

  • BY - users must state who the work was created 'by'
  • ND - 'no derivatives'
  • NC - 'non commercial'
  • SA - 'share alike'

They range from CC BY, the most open, to CC BY-NC-ND, the most restrictive.

Which licence you use with your thesis is entirely up to you, but do think carefully or ask for advice. You may want to specify 'non commercial' or ‘share alike’ clauses to prevent others from exploiting your work commercially.

You need to check if your funder requires a specific licence. For example, if your thesis is funded by UKRI, you must use a CC-BY licence.

To apply a Creative Commons licence, select it when you are submitting your thesis through Moodle.

Read a more detailed explanation of the risks and benefits of making your thesis Open Access (blog post by our research support team).


More IT and Library services

Library and IT

Last updated