How Much Self-Plagiarism Is Allowed?

Most researchers believe that plagiarism can never be accepted. They also agree that some types of plagiarism are more serious than others. For example, complete plagiarism is when a person takes a project or article written by another person and submits it as their own name. This is more serious than accidental plagiarism, in which a person mistakenly copied from another work.

But what about self-plagiarism? This is when one uses a large part of one’s previous work without reference to the original text. For example, a person may publish two very similar articles in two different journals. Whether this is immoral or not is debatable. Many journals, however, have explicit guidelines for the extent to which the authors can use their previous works in an article. Some people think that self-plagiarism means reusing the ideas and concepts of previous works. Others believe that it only means copying text or images.

Why Do Some Researchers Self-Plagiarize?

Self-plagiarism is not the worst form of plagiarism, but it is certainly not widely accepted. So why do some researchers self-plagiarize? One of the reasons could be the pressure on researchers to “publish or perish.” Many researchers face a lot of pressure to publish an article, otherwise, they will not be able to advance in their profession or attract funding. This has led some to try to “cut corners” by using their previous works. This will increase their publication record without actually performing new research.

Some researchers do not see anything wrong with self-plagiarism. They may even think that since they are authors, they can do whatever they want with their works. Of course, it is acceptable to refer to your work if it is cited correctly. However, presenting a previous work as a new, original work means misleading the reader.

Is Self-Plagiarism Accepted?

Self-plagiarism is frowned upon by many academic research communities. Using this to increase your publication record can lead to your unfair superiority over others. It can also have a broader impact by improving the publication record of your institution or research team. At a rudimentary level, self-plagiarism is dishonest as it misleads the other researchers working in your field. Some even consider it a kind of misconduct in research. In addition, published research must have the most up-to-date knowledge available. But this is not possible if an article is re-using previous works.

Is Self-Plagiarism Ever Allowed?

Although self-plagiarism is not generally accepted, it can be justified in some circumstances. For example, when you want to publish a very similar article in two different languages. In this case, a much wider audience can use this article, so in such circumstances, it is ok to self-plagiarize. However, the re-use of the content must be clearly explained. These two articles should not be considered as two separate articles for the purposes of the publication record.

Another condition is when a researcher is asked to write a chapter in a book. This often means using materials that have already been presented somewhere else, such as in a journal. In this case, the authors can re-use their own work and the original source must be mentioned.

Some authors call this re-use of their work “fair use.” This is an idea that small parts of a printed work can be copied without permission, for example when the purpose is to offer a suggestion or critique of the work. However, this only applies to a very small amount of text or other content as usual. The original source must be mentioned. However, writers need to consider who actually has the right to publish their work. In most cases, it is the journals that have the copyright, not the authors.

How to Safely Re-Use Your Previous Work

If you want to safely re-use your previous work, how can you do it without the risk of self-plagiarism? The most important thing is to always be honest. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Check that your reasons for re-using your work are ethical. Why do you want to do this? Is this the best way to achieve your goal? Is re-using your work only good for you or good for others?
  • Make sure you have the permission of anyone else who helped you write the original work, including editors, co-authors, and publishers.
  • Tell new publishers that you will use some of your previous work. Again, this includes obtaining permission from editors, co-authors, and publishers.
  • Make sure you fully cite the original work. It should be clear that the new article has been re-created from a previous work and an agreement has been reached with co-authors and others. This prevents readers from being misled.
  • Finally, make sure you do not apply for a grant twice for the same work. For example, in your resume or grant application, you should mention the relationship between the two articles.

You should also be prepared to defend your decision to re-use your work as you may be questioned. Even if you follow all of the above, you may still run into problems. For example, a journal may reject your work for plagiarism even if you think your choice was justified.

What Do You Think?

In our opinion, researchers should be meticulous if they choose to re-use their work. If they want to avoid self-plagiarism, they must always be honest. It is very important that the reader is not misled. In addition, it must be ensured that the choice to re-use their work is solely for the benefit of the scientific community. It may be better to spend the time and effort they put into avoiding self-plagiarism on a new project.

Do you need to make sure that you have avoided plagiarism? Using plagiarism checkers, like the services provided by DoNotEdit, can be helpful.

Do you think that you have ever committed self-plagiarism? or have you seen this in the works of others? Do you think self-plagiarism is immoral or should researchers be free to re-use their previous works? Please share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments section.

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