Copyright and Open Access

Copyright protects the rights to your own work, and highlights the responsibilities you have when using other people’s work. When authors choose to make their work Open Access, it becomes easier to share and build on.

When you copy more than a short quote from another author’s work, you need to make sure you have permission – either from a Creative Commons licence on the work, or by contacting the copyright holder. When you publish your own work, you should also understand your rights, and think about what permissions you may want to grant future users. 


Using someone else's work in your paper or thesis

Quoting up to a paragraph 

This is fairly straightforward. When quoting a very short section of someone else’s work, eg a paragraph or less, this is normally permitted under the Copyright Act 1994. Academic practice is to always clearly cite the source of your quote. 

Using a longer section or figure or image 

If you’re quoting a longer section, or copying a photograph, map, chart, table, diagram or other figure or image, you need permission from the copyright holder. They might grant permission pre-emptively, eg by applying a Creative Commons licence, or you might need to request permission from them. 

Depositing your thesis/dissertation in Research@Lincoln 

Once you have permission for every excerpt and figure you’re using from other people’s work, then you can simply deposit the thesis as-is. 

  • Make sure you acknowledge permission for each work as described above 
  • We don’t need copies of the requests you sent or responses received, but make sure you keep copies for your own records, in case of dispute. 

If there is anything where you could not get written permission, you will need to upload two files with your deposit into Research@Lincoln.

Your rights as an author

Under Lincoln University’s Intellectual Property Policy, authors own the copyright for any papers written while employed by, or studying at, Lincoln University.  The Lincoln University House Rules add more detail on intellectual property for postgraduate students. 

Making your work available on Research@Lincoln doesn’t affect your copyright. 

If you publish in a journal or book, the publisher’s contract may ask you to transfer your copyright to them. If you want to retain the right to reuse figures in conference presentations or other scholarly works, or to make a copy available for course readings, you can modify the copyright transfer agreement using a SPARC Author Addendum 

Making your work Open Access

Open access symbolUnless you’ve transferred your copyright to someone else, you always retain copyright of your work. But you can choose to make it Open Access, either by simply making it free to read, or by applying a Creative Commons licence that pre-emptively gives people permission to copy or adapt the work, depending on which licence you choose. 

The more open you make access to your work, the easier it is for other people to share it and raise the profile of your research. This is why Lincoln University’s Open Access Policy encourages authors to publish openly where there aren’t cultural, ethical, or commercial reasons for protecting material. 

If you want to publish in an Open Access journal that requires Article Processing Charges (APCs), you can apply for APC funding.

More information

For any questions about copyright or Creative Commons licences, contact