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Copyright: PhD dissertations and copyright

PhD registration in Pure

When registering your PhD thesis in Pure, it may be worth considering whether you want to make it available as Open Access.
However, this is not always simple to do. The library has compiled these guidelines that can help you along the way.

At the bottom of this page, there is a FAQ where you might be able to find answers to a particular question.

If you have questions about Open Access, you can always contact Roskilde University Library at

General information about copyright

If your dissertation includes images, tables and figures for which you do not own the copyright and which are not within the public domain, and the dissertation will be made publicy available, you must always obtain permission from the copyright holder. This also applies to the copy of the dissertation that is available through the library.

However, some exceptions apply:

  • In Denmark, copyright applies for 70 years after the work's creator has died (author, artist, researcher, etc.). By the end of the 70th year after the year of the death the work may the be used without obtaining permission.
  • Images and other material placed under a Creative Commons (CC) license, or similar, may also be used without obtaining permission to use the images.

Dissertations that contains articles

If your article contains one or more articles, you must have clarified the copyright for each article:

Are you using the article in 'Published Version' in your dissertation:

  • Check if there is an exclusive Publisher copyright for that version of the article. If the article is not already Open Access (typically identified with a CC license), you cannot share it in Pure.

Are you using the article in preprint/manuscript format or as Accepted Manuscript (AM)-version in your dissertation:

  • These version is usualley allowed to share as Open Access. Preprints can be shared without any further restrictions, but regarding AM's please be aware if an embargo and/or specific CC-license applies.

In addition, several publishers have already described guidelines regarding the reuse of published manuscripts in a PhD dissertation. We always recommend that you familiarize yourself on the relevant publishers' websites on this matter.

Provisions for dissertations without aticles

If you submit a monograph-based PhD, you must be aware of the general copyright provisions for sharing pictures, tables and figures for which you are not the right holder, as described in the info box above.

If there is any uncertainty as to whether you may share material or not, you should consult the Danish Act on Copyright:

”…§ 23.-(1) Works of art and works of a descriptive nature, cf. section 1(2), which have been made public may be used in critical or scientific presentations in connection with the text in accordance with proper usage and to the extent reqiured for the purpose. Reproduction is not allowed for any commercial purposes…”

This means that if the shared material can be defined as "work of a descriptive nature", it is allowed to be reproduced under the same conditions as a quotation.
However, if you are still unsure about copyright issues, please contact us at


Can I change the publishers' layout of the articles in my dissertation?

No. If you use articles that have already been published in a journal, you must reproduce it in the graphic layout determined by the publisher. You can if nescessary change the article to the very latest version after peer review, most often called Accepted Manuscript, if you want to decide the layout yourself (be aware of embargo as mentioned above).

Should co-author statements be included?

No, co-author statements should not be included in your PhD.

Where can I find illustrations that are legal to use?

You can find links to legal material on the library's info page about copyright here (Danish)