Self Plagiarism. The Definition. The Avoidance

Mike Deep • June 8, 2015

Self plagiarism may seem to look like a weird concept to those who have no experience with it. The definition of self plagiarism is using your own work in a different context without citing that it was used previously. A major example of such an act might be someone who writes a magazine article that is published. Later, that same individual writes a book and uses parts of the magazine article in their writing without indicating that the text had been previously used.

Self Plagiarism In Academia

It is possible to use your own work multiple times, but you have to cite where it comes from.

In academia, self plagiarism is a very real concept that happens often but is usually against the school’s policy. An example of self plagiarism in school would be when a student submits the same paper to two different instructors in separate classes for credit. While this seems rather harmless, it can be very detrimental to the student’s education.

Teachers have been comparing compositions for years trying to make sure that self plagiarism was detected, but until recently it was often difficult to discover. As a means of discouraging self plagiarism many institutions utilize programs such as Teachers can upload your paper into the system to see if it is like any other paper ever entered into that program or other similar ones as well as if the information can be found on the internet or in any publications. The system will flag your paper even when it is your paper that exists in the system.

Correct Use Of Your Past Works

It is possible to use your own work multiple times, but you have to cite where it comes from. In the earlier example of the magazine article used in the book, all the writer would need to do is mention that the information could be found in the article he wrote for X magazine. In school, students can use their older papers as a guide for new papers or they can also use the research, and it does not count as plagiarism.

Furthermore, many teachers might allow you to turn in the same paper that was used in a separate class providing that you take it as an opportunity to edit and fine-tune your work. Always talk to your teachers before submitting previously submitted work. Your grade depends on it.