Q: Can I transfer the copyright of my journal article to the publisher of my thesis?
I wish to know if I have the right to transfer the copyright of my thesis to an association that holds a best thesis award in my field? The problem is that my thesis (not yet defended) contains large parts of my published paper which forms two contribution chapters of my thesis out of four (not including the introduction and conclusion). From what I understand, the thesis if awarded will be published as a book by the association in its publications (they demand exclusive publication rights). I can access the website of my published paper and get copyright for free even if I use the full text of my paper in a book. I hope it is a clear question, how to transfer such copyright without falling into copyright issues? Thanks in advance.
If I understand correctly, a part of your thesis has been published as a journal article and you wish to know if you retain the rights to transfer the copyright of the thesis to an academic publisher to publish your thesis as a book.
In this scenario, the most important aspect will be to determine if the copyright of the work published is held by the publisher.
We recommend that you read the publication agreement that was signed between the authors and publishers to verify if the copyright was transferred to the publisher. If you find that the copyright of the article was transferred to the journal, you should read the agreement to check if it permits the authors to use published material for future publications in the forms of dissertations, book chapters, etc.
In case the agreement permits reuse, you can transfer the copyright to the academic publisher for publishing your thesis. In case the permission to republish is not allowed as per the signed agreement, you will need to write to the publisher to seek permission for republication of your prior work. Also, if you are unable to locate the publication agreement, please contact the publisher to obtain a copy of the agreement. Finally, if the agreement mentions that the authors retain the right to republish their work, you can freely use the work for republication.
Please follow the above steps to prevent a case of copyright infringement.