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Copyright Information Site


The copyright lies with the author. This means that you cannot simply take parts of someone else’s work and use them as your own in, for example, a thesis or a paper.

When you do want to use parts of someone else’s work it has to fit in the context of your work and you have to cite your sources.

Copyright rules also apply to using someone else’s images (even if they appear without copyright). You are allowed to repurpose images to discuss them but you are not allowed to use them as decoration. Therefore you cannot use an image as illustration for the cover of your thesis.

See the SURF Basic rules for using audio and video materials.

You can find answers to frequently asked questions from students about the use of another person's work  on the website Copyright in Higher Education (SURF). You can sort the questions by theme, for example, Audio and Visual material or Publications. Most questions offer further explanation and/or a link to other relevant information.

Citing Sources

With every text or image you repurpose you are required to cite the source, even if the image is your own. These references in your text are citations or footnotes. Make sure to include a reference list or bibliography where you list your sources at the end of your work.

It is important that sources can be traced back to their origin. Therefore include information such as author, title, and publishing year. With a digital publication you note the URL, the date you accessed the URL, and the name of the website. Explain how you got your results with (personalised) screenshots.


The manner in which you cite sources is dependent on your particular study. Each discipline requires a different style of citation.

There are numerous citation style manuals, the foremost being APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association) and Chicago (Chicago Manual of Style).

Manually editing sources according to a particular citation style requires precision and is time consuming work. By using a citation software you can save a lot of time. The UvA has a license for the citation software RefWorks and Mendeley. The Word plug-in of either of these programmes lets you effortlessly convert sources to the requirements of any citation style. The library organises a monthly RefWorks introduction course which is available to all at the UvA.


You are not allowed to let other people’s work pass as your own. Reusing other people’s work without properly citing the source is called plagiarism and is a punishable offence.

Work that you submit to the UvA is checked for plagiarism with the programme Turnitin. You can read how this works on Plagiarism and Fraud. Here you can also find what the UvA considers plagiarism and which rules you have to adhere to when writing a paper or essay.

When you write a thesis or paper you are the author and you automatically have copyright protection. You don’t have to do anything to ensure your work is protected by copyright.

Publishing Theses on UvA Theses Online

Most studies ensure that your thesis is included in the UvA-repository Theses Online. This does not mean that you lose the copyright or that your work is now part of the public domain. 

If others want to use parts of your thesis they have to ask for your permission, unless they use your work according to one of the Copyright Act exceptions such as citing or copying for one’s own use.

Get in touch with the contact person of Theses Online for your Faculty for any questions you may have concerning publishing your thesis, and if you (temporarily) do not want your thesis to be publicly available. 

This page is part of the Copyright Information Site of the UvA. It also provides answers to copyright questions lecturers and researchers may have.

Copyright Information - general