Q: Can a doctoral thesis already published in an institutional repository be published in a society journal?
I acquired a doctoral degree by thesis, and my entire thesis has been published in the university’s repository. However, I wrote another paper by reorganizing parts of the thesis and submitted this to a society journal. I noted in the paper that the content of the paper is based on my thesis. The society journal has a rule stating that “The paper should be original, and the one published in another society journal is to be excluded.” My paper was accepted and is currently awaiting publication. However, the publication in the repository happened earlier. Would it be a duplicate publication?
Based on the information you have provided, this would indeed be a case of duplicate submission. The contents and papers published in most university repositories are available to the public. So, if the society journal publishes your modified paper, there will be two similar papers by the same author in the public domain, resulting in a case of duplicate submission.
You may learn more about duplicate submission through these resources:
- Duplicate publications and simultaneous submissions
- The journal editor says my paper is a case of duplicate submission. What should I do?
- Will my article be considered duplicate submission?
As the journal’s rule too states, journals seek to publish only novel studies. So, their decision to accept your paper, especially after you have informed them of your original thesis paper, is a bit unusual. It could be that they are a bit “permissive”, which could be the case if they are a new journal. For the same reason, you may wish to check if they are a predatory journal, especially as you have mentioned that they accepted your paper but have not mentioned anything about a peer review. In these cases, after accepting your paper, they might ask you for a high article processing charge (APC). To identify a predatory journal, you may use this checklist: 10 Point checklist to identify predatory publishers
If they are indeed a predatory publisher, you should withdraw the manuscript. The reason you can provide is that you were not aware this would be a duplicate submission.
In case they are a genuine publisher, you should write to them again informing them of the similarity with the original paper. If needed, you can provide a link to the original paper. You can let them decide how they wish to proceed.
Ideally, it would be best to withdraw the paper in any case. This is because you are just starting your career as an academic or a researcher, and it would not help to have a potential record of an unethical publishing practice right at the beginning. However, you may make the best decision based on the information and guidance we have provided.
Finally, there are ways of converting a thesis to a journal article, keeping all the journal requirements in mind beyond simply reorganizing the thesis as you have done. For ways to convert a thesis to a journal article, you may refer to the following resources:
- The basics of converting your PhD thesis into journal articles
- Tips on rewriting your thesis as a journal article
All the best for the next steps!