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Submitting your thesis to ORA: Oxford Research Theses and predatory publishers

Oxford Research Theses and predatory publishers

Please be aware that the author of the thesis usually[1] holds the copyright of their thesis. The University of Oxford does not assert copyright over research theses.

A number of Oxford research students consider publishing their thesis as a monograph and may spend significant time finding a publisher and going through the editorial process. 

Some early career researchers are approached by external organisations to publish their thesis.  Understandably, this can be flattering for the researcher. Although some unsolicited approaches are from reputable publishers, many of these offers are from predatory publishers[2]

Typically a predatory publisher wants to obtain the thesis copyright, meaning you would relinquish control over your own work, including how or where it is used, or to whom it may be sold for the publisher’s sole profit.

The following should be kept in mind:

  • Providing you retain the copyright of your thesis, you have the right to make academic or scholarly decisions regarding further dissemination and use of your thesis, beyond any University of Oxford conditions of award /  Examination Regulations
    • However, please be aware that some funding bodies exert an influence on whether, but usually when, the thesis content is released publicly
  • Authors are strongly advised to research carefully any unsolicited publishing offer and the publishing company making the offer to ensure that the company is reputable and their intentions acceptable
  • Any paperwork or agreement issued by the publisher should be read carefully, particularly in regards to copyright transfer and future use of the work


Queries should be addressed to subject librarians in the first instance. 


[1] If your thesis forms part of a body of research being carried out by your Department, Research Group or a Doctoral Training Centre, you may need to clarify this.

[2] The University of Cambridge has a very helpful page on predatory publishers.

Oxford Research Archive (ORA)






ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) is the institutional repository for the University of Oxford and is home to the scholarly output of its research members. 

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