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What is Self Plagiarism

Published by at August 13th, 2021 , Revised On August 24, 2023


Wondering what self-plagiarism is? Self-plagiarism is the most common type of plagiarism, and you might have also committed this form of plagiarism intentionally or unintentionally. It occurs when someone uses their previous work repeatedly in their new work.

What is Self-Plagiarised Content?

The text material, images, graphs, videos,  charts, manuscripts, audios, or any form of previous work done by yourself if reused without citing or referencing the last work is considered self-plagiarised content.

Types of Self Plagiarism


Many authors reuse their previous writings, including journals, published articles, chapters from their previous books in their current writing.

Sometimes they copy some paragraphs and key information relevant to the current topic. If they do it without crediting their previous writings and without permission from the earlier publications, then their work will fall under self-plagiarism.

Salami Slicing/ Data Fragmentation

Some authors submit the same article to various journals and websites to increase publicity. They intend to increase their viewership and enhance the chances of publication, but that is also self-plagiarism.

Self-Plagiarism by Students

Many students indulge in copying materials from their previous work as they believe it’ll make their work easier. This kind of activity is also a kind of self-plagiarism. Cheating is cheating whether you copy it from others or your work.

Most of the students commit self-plagiarism in the following ways;

    •  Sometimes they resubmit their previous paper making a few amendments to it instead of writing a new assignment.
    •  Unawareness of plagiarism and its types can also lead to self-plagiarism.
    •  Many students copy a few paragraphs or a small portion from their previous writing into new assignments.
    •  Some students also resubmit a previous paper of their graduation in post-graduation if similar to their current research or assignment topic and requirements.

Reasons for Self-Plagiarism

The most common reasons for committing self-plagiarism among students and academics are:

    •  They find it easier due to lack of time and inability to meet the deadline.
    •  Many students have a fear of failure, and they feel that they can submit their best work to get the grades they desire. But it is important to be aware that the consequences of self-plagiarism can be very serious.
    •  There is a lot of competition everywhere, and people want to excel in their specific field effortlessly.

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Consequences of Self-Plagiarism

You might be wondering what’s wrong with self-plagiarising and why I must avoid it. You are not stealing someone’s ideas or words. After all, it’s your own work, and you have all the right to reuse it.

  •  Self-plagiarism is not that serious compared to other types of plagiarism, but it has many undesirable consequences.
  •  Many universities have their policies for self-plagiarism, and students need to be aware of the guidelines.
  •  Self-plagiarism is still unacceptable even though if it usually does not lead to expulsion from the institution.
  •  Read the copyright guidelines before committing copyright infringement.
  •  If authors use their previous writings that have already been published, they have no right to use their own words, resulting in a rejection or delayed publication.
  •  They need to rewrite it from scratch to publish it successfully.
  •  No matter if you create the content but after publishing it becomes journal or publication property and you can’t use it without citation.
  • Every research aims to introduce new information and discovery to the world. It is evidence-based and includes a series of hard work, research, and honesty. If you reuse the same data from other research, you are defaming the previous study’s authenticity. It’s considered duplicate work.
  •  Many journals use plagiarism checking software to detect plagiarized content, and your recycled material may get caught, and it may harm your status. You may not get rejected, but you will still need to rewrite it. It is considered as copyright infringement as the publication holds its copyright.

What is Copyright Infringement?

If someone produces new content, they register for copyright protection to claim the rightful owner of the material. If someone wants to use it, they need to buy it from the owner or have a license.

Many people create a duplicate copy of the content and claim to be the owner of that content. this act of claiming ownership of any content material is referred to as “copyright infringement.”

Movies, audios, and videos often suffer from this fraudulent activity. It causes financial loss to the owner of the content and is considered a severe crime. Apart from the entertainment industry, the copyright owners of writing materials also face ‘copyright infringement.’ In simple words, it’s selling the same product by switching labels of various brands.

Plagiarism Vs. Copyright Infringement

Plagiarism is academic dishonesty where someone copies work from other sources or recycles their previous work without citation. Copyright infringement is breaking a law of copyright owners where someone uses others’ published work without the citation and permission of the owner.

How to Avoid Self-Plagiarism?

Authors, journalists, digital marketers, educators should avoid using their previous work without citing the published source even they write it. Ensure every part of your work is original as it saves you from rewriting and adds value to your work.

If you want to use your previous idea, you should obtain the license to use it from the publication. You should either have permission from the copyright holder or cite the earlier source of your work.

Students can avoid self-plagiarism by creating original paper instead of recycling their previous work. If you want to link the previous research with the new one, and it’s essential to rely on the past data, you need to take permission from your professor. It’s always best to paraphrase and cite your own work if you want to use it in your current paper.

Also Read: Tips to Avoid Plagiarism in a Dissertation

How to Detect Plagiarism?

As the internet and technology paved the way to access all kinds of materials, plagiarism continued to increase. On the other hand, technology and various plagiarism checking tools have also allowed us to detect plagiarism effectively and efficiently.

After completing your work, always run it through plagiarism checking tools to identify which part of your work already exists somewhere. You can make necessary amendments before submitting and protect yourself from plagiarism.

Bottom Line

Any plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty. Whenever you submit your original work, you build trust with your readers, and it’s better to be unique each time. If a specific part of your research requires information from your previous work, then either cite the previous work properly or take permission from your professor.

Authors should read copyright guidelines, and students should read university guidelines carefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consequences of online plagiarism include damaged reputation, academic penalties, legal actions, and loss of credibility. It undermines originality, hampers learning, and violates ethical standards in both educational and professional settings.

About Jamie Walker

Avatar for Jamie WalkerJamie is a content specialist holding a master's degree from Stanford University. His research focuses on the Internet of Things, as well as areas such as politics, medicine, sociology, and other academic writing. Jamie is a member of the content management team at ResearchProspect.