Self-Plagiarism Explained & Why You Should Avoid It In The First Place

self plagiarism

As writers, we understand that plagiarism is considered a crime in our scope of work. Even for students, it is one of the most critical things to check when submitting a research paper. Plagiarism is real, and it hurts the most when you discover that you fall into the self-plagiarism circuit. 

Plagiarism refers to stealing someone’s ideas, expressions, or creativity and using it as your work without giving due credit to the original creator. Self-plagiarism also indicates similar meaning with the difference that you steal your own idea from a previously done content, research paper, or a journal, etc. 

In short, if you are reusing any of your original and already published works and calling it brand new, it is self-plagiarism. If the concerned publishing authority finds your work self-plagiarized, it can label it as a duplicate publication – identical work published at two distinct places.

If you are still wondering what self-plagiarism is, here is a detailed insight.

Some examples of self-plagiarism

  • Copying an entire self-work: Submitting an already presented paper in a different place or class
  • Copying a part of your paper: Taking some excerpts from your previously published work and including them in a new job.
  • Stealing an earlier idea without citation: Taking the idea from one of your dissertations and reusing it for another dissertation without proper citation.
  • Duplicate publishing: Using the same research work to publish similar papers in different journals.
  • Data duplicity: Submitting a manuscript for review that you claim to be original, but in fact includes the data from an already presented or published research work of yours

Is self-plagiarism wrong?

You are using your own work in a new study, so you might think this practice to be harmless. After all, you are not stealing it from someone else. Still, it can have several adverse consequences:

1. Policy violation

Most of the Universities have policies against self-plagiarism. It is important to know about these policies to avoid the rejection of your work.

2. Authenticity crisis

Every study demands intense research, diligence, and honesty. Reusing the same data might pose a question on the authenticity of your previous work as well. If identified, the journal will call it a duplicate work.

3. Nothing new to learn

Every manuscript consists of quality information based on knowledge, intense research, discovery, and integrity. It gives a new approach to a particular topic and advances the way you think of the world. Self-plagiarism will do no good to brush up your knowledge and, likewise, will leave nothing new for the learners to come.

Your assumption of submitting fresh work will ultimately come a cropper, and the publisher will abandon it. While this will pose a major setback for your career, it will also portray honest researchers in a bad light.

You may be the owner of your ideas, but a published work is the property of the concerned journal. When you take a section from any such already published paper without citation or permission of the publisher, it will lead to copyright infringement.

Modern-day journals are more technical savvy and use self-plagiarism checker software to check the research work’s originality. It’s always a good practice to check the accuracy of your submission. Read this guide on creative writing tips and become a better writer in your next project or research paper. 


Reasons for self-plagiarism

Academics and students practice self-plagiarism owing to multiple reasons. Nevertheless, any of these factors do not justify their act because original work is always better.

  • To save time: The students and academics opt for self-plagiarism mainly to submit within the deadline. They often run short of time and hence prefer adopting unscrupulous means. 
  • Failure nightmares: The fear of rejection looms big on the minds of the researchers. To avoid failure and gain better grades, they find it better to submit an already submitted work.
  • Beat the competition: To excel in their respective academic and research field, students often find solace in self-plagiarism.

Every writer makes mistakes, and it is good to improve your writing gradually. We have covered some of the very common grammar mistakes majority of the writer does.

Why should you avoid self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is always better to avoid. If you still want some solid reasons, the below ones are likely to convince you.

  • Zero contribution to knowledge gain: Every research paper should advance our understanding of the world with fresh results and conclusions. A reused and uncited manuscript, ‘salami slicing’ data, or recycled old publication questions the author’s reputation in the related field.
  • Copyright Hassles: You may be the owner of your research work, but it is the property of the publishing house. If you are reusing the data, words, or excerpts from your previous work without seeking the publisher’s citation or permission, it will be copyright infringement. As a result, you might have to face unfavorable penalties. 
  • Unnecessary publication delay: Journals are smart enough to detect plagiarism or even self-plagiarism through advanced software. Therefore, they can identify your paraphrased or copied work instantly. At the worst, the publishing house might reject your self-plagiarized work. Besides, the journal might also require you to provide the correct citation. Copying your own material could also cause publication delays. 

Wish to avoid self-plagiarism? Follow these steps

This entire information is enough to make you understand the harmful effects of self-plagiarism. Moving on from the question of what self-plagiarism is, now you should ask how to avoid self-plagiarism.

We have covered earlier about how to avoid plagiarism in your writing. Here are a few pointers to help you overcoming self-plagiarism.

  • Genuine research work: Yes, your original work is always beneficial as it lets you discover new data, saves you from recycling your old work, and above all, accentuates the overall quality of your work.
  • Research planning: It enables you to create distinct notes on your research work and programs your mind to work on identical topics afresh.
  • Give proper citation: If you are using an old publication, it is important to give an appropriate citation and attributions to emancipate you from self-plagiarism. Seeking the guidance of your professor will help provide correct citations.

How to check a research work for self-plagiarism?

Educational institutes and publishing houses prefer using smart tools to check the papers for self-plagiarism. Even students can use them to ensure a plagiarism-free paper submission.

Here are some of the common self-plagiarism checker tools include as below:

  1. Duplichecker
  2. WhatisResearch 
  3. Copyleaks         
  4. Plag Tracker
  5. Copyscape
  6. Unichek
  7. Bibme
  8. EduBirdie
  9. Auctores
  10. Scribbr
  11. PlagiarismChecker
  12. iThenticate
  13. Research Experts
  14. PaperRater

So, shun away self-plagiarism before your thesis faces rejection. Taking the guidance of experts, your supervisor, or a professor would be ideal in this matter. The self-plagiarism checker software can also prove to be of immense help.

Wishing you a happy, genuine, and plagiarism-free Paper Writing.