Self-Plagiarism: What Is It and How It Affects You?

You may think that you can’t steal words from yourself,…

You may think that you can’t steal words from yourself, but you can. Self plagiarism is a thing. It involves including material from your earlier academic work without giving credit.

You may not think it is a serious thing, especially when it’s your own work you did not cite. You should know though, it can have serious consequences for you academic career.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

What is Self-Plagiarism

People describe self plagiarism as recycling or reusing one’s own words from previously published texts. Although it does not cross the line of true theft of others’ ideas, it can cause problems in the field of scholarly publishing.

Although it is not exclusive to verbatim sections of text, self-plagiarism can also refer to the publication of identical papers in two places. Scholars call this duplicate publication in some quarters.

If you’re merely revisiting an old idea or an observation, it’s a good idea to thoroughly cite your previous work.

To summarize, self-plagiarism is any attempt to take some previously published text, papers, or research results and make them appear brand new.

The Problem With Self-Plagiarism

As a college student, this practice is wrong. This is because you are basically writing your paper from material you’ve already gotten a grade for.

Think about how wrong this is when you submitting it to a professor to grade. You are attempting to get credit twice for the same work. If you’re found out, the teacher might decide not grade your paper at all. And that would be the least of your problems.

Self plagiarism in academic circles is something that should never be done. You discredit your own hard work and can possibly make a fool of yourself.

As a career academic or professor, self plagiarism can have even more serious consequences. Self-plagiarism may seem harmless, but there are compelling reasons to avoid it:

Research Papers Serve a Purpose and Self Plagiarism Undermines It

The most important reason to avoid self-plagiarism is the integrity of the academic research record. As you could imagine, this record is important to the collective store of knowledge as a whole.

Published work is assumed to lead to new knowledge and results that advance our understanding of the world. When you include uncredited information, you are attempting to take advantage of this assumption to perpetrate an act of fraud.

You May Not Own the Right to Re-Use Your Own Words

As funny as that sounds, it’s true.

The standard process of publishing in journals involves turning over ownership of the ideas to the publisher. Even if you remain the intellectual owner of the ideas and results, your publication is property of the journal.

This could get you in legal trouble. As far as the law is concerned, this is called copyright infringement. You don’t automatically have the right to use your own words, even if you wrote them.

There is typically a Creative Commons license for open access journals, which allows reuse with attribution. It is appropriate in such cases to reuse your own words, however, it is always necessary to mention the original publication.

Journals Have Their Own Review Process

Most journals use software like iThenticate® for screening for plagiarism upon submission. You will be flagged if you copied text from a previously published paper.

You can be rejected outright for publication. If you aren’t, the editor will ask you questions and make you rewrite your paper or ask you to identify reused material.

The most common reason self-plagiarism is because students and academics are trying to save time. But as you can see, in the end, that’s not what happens.

To Wrap Up

It’s not worth it to your reputation to engage in self plagiarism. Always take care to cite your own material if it is reused in another research paper or publication.

Frequently asked questions

What are the consequences of self-plagiarism?

It is possible for academic researchers to take their manuscript or paper at the very least to receive rejection from you if they catch their own pamphlet.

What is an example of self-plagiarism?

A student may self-plagiarise when he or she submits his or her own work, or mixes parts of previous work, without permission from all professors involved. For example, you should not incorporate something you wrote in high school into a college assignment.

Can you get in trouble for self-plagiarism?

You may be accused of plagiarizing yourself. If found guilty, it’s called self-plagiarism, which means you can be suspended from school or expelled from school.

Why is self-plagiarism a problem?

By presenting previous work as completely new and original, self-plagiarism confuses your readers. Please make sure you tell your readers by citing yourself if you would like to include text, ideas, or data you already submitted in a previous assignment.

Is self-plagiarism academic dishonesty?

It is a form of academic dishonesty that is termed self-plagiarism. It is appropriate to expand one’s own work across multiple courses, and to avoid self-plagiarism requires that a student who wants to expand on previously submitted work does so publicly by obtaining permission from the professor in advance.

How do I get rid of self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism can be prevented by doing new and original research, getting permission from the copyright owner where necessary, spacing out your writing where several papers have similar topics and reframing your ideas for your new audience.

What is self-plagiarism and why is it so important to academics?

The danger of self-plagiarism is equally serious. It is fraud to self-plagiarise and goes against ethical writing principles. Students are expected to illustrate their learning through their assignments. Reuses from previous classes aren’t evidence of new learning.

How do you explain self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is defined as the practice of republishing a work in its entirety or reusing parts of previously written text while authoring rework.

What is self-plagiarism and how can you avoid it?

What self-plagiarism is isn’t simply copying and pasting words from your past work. Use of data, quotes, ideas, or paraphrased content. When you repurpose content, be sure to properly cite your source.

Self-Plagiarism: What Is It and How It Affects You?

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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