The idea of self-plagiarism seems almost ridiculous, but it is a very real issue that has consequences. Self-plagiarism is the use of one's own previous work in another context without citing that it was used previously. The idea is that the writer should let the reader know that this was not the first use of the material. Republished text is a glaring example of self-plagiarism. The writer must cite his-or herself when using previously written work.
Another form of self-plagiarism is called data fragmentation or salami slicing. This occurs when the author of a study separates aspects of a study and publishes it in more than one publication (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).
Self-plagiarism may also fall under possible copyright infringement. For writers who have published a particular piece such as a scientific research study or academic article, the copyright may have been allotted to the research journal or publication. The writer must study this matter carefully before reproducing any of this kind of work (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). A question also exits about how much an author can reuse his or her previous text. No definitive answer exists (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).
Writers should recycle their own material carefully and sparingly. Self-plagiarism rules are fixed in some areas and hazy in others. The author should avoid using his or her own work if possible and with discretion if needed. Understanding the precise guidelines of this practice is imperative for the writer.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2011, September 28). Avoiding plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing. Retrieved from http://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-13
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