Plagiarism 101: Self-Plagiarism

by: Gina Evers and Lily Frank

We received a number of questions about self plagiarism at our Plagiarism Awareness Pizza Party last month. You wanted to know if it were possible to plagiarize yourself, how that could happen, and why handing in your old paper to a new class constitutes academic dishonesty. Without further ado, here are your answers:

 Plagiarizing yourself occurs if you try to reuse a paper or part of a paper and pass it off as new material. For example, writing a paper for one class and submitting for another class next semester would be considered self plagiarism.
This is a problem for two reasons. First, you would be receiving twice the amount of academic credit for the same amount work, in essence cheating yourself out of the opportunity to learn something in the second class and deceiving your professor at the same time. Second, in reusing your old work, you’re being dishonest in claiming that an old bit of writing is a new bit of writing.
Even if you reference something you’ve written in the past, you need to give credit to yourself so that your research is transparent and that readers can see how your new ideas build off your old ones.
But how do you cite yourself? Stay tuned!

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