Can Recycling Your Own Work be Considered Plagiarism?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

Oftentimes students think that because they are the original author of work they can reuse their work in full or in excerpts with no consequences. However, many universities claim that republishing one's own work is a form of plagiarism. Self-plagiarism is defined as a plagiarism type in which the writer republishes a work in its entirety or reuses parts of a previously written text while writing a new work. The ethical issue of self-plagiarism is the main focus as it infringes upon a publisher's copyright. Most universities' definition of plagiarism doesn't typically include self-plagiarism so students are unaware of the ethics and laws involving this act.

Understanding the Difference Between Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the practice of claiming credit for the ideas, words or concepts of others while self-plagiarism refers to the practice of presenting someone's previously published work as if it were new. Self-plagiarism occurs when the author doesn't let the reader know that this material has appeared elsewhere.

Here are some instances of self-plagiarism:

  1. Publishing a study as smaller studies to increase the number of publications rather than publishing it as one large study.
  2. Republishing the same paper that is published elsewhere without telling the reader or the publisher, instructor or professor.
  3. Reusing parts of previously-written text, whether sentences or entire paragraphs/pages.

Copyright Law

Copyright law in the United States protects original works of authorship. When someone claims themselves as an author it guarantees that their work is original, not previously published and that no other agreement to publish it is outstanding. Authors can quote from portions of other works with proper citations, however, without these citations, this may be considered plagiarism by a college or a university. This doesn't mean that it includes just published text, but when it is first created and fixed in a tangible form.

How to Avoid Self-Plagiarism

The idea is that the core of a new document must be original knowledge and ideas and that only a small amount of previously published material (with citations) is included. As a student, it's important to never take previously-published work, even if it is your own, and use it for future assignments as you risk the chance of being accused of plagiarism and can face expulsion.

Student Defense Attorney Helping Clients Nationwide

If you or your student has been accused of self-plagiarism, a criminal defense attorney such as Joseph D. Lento can help represent you during the hearings. Don't allow an honest mistake or brief lapse in judgment ruin your chances at finishing your education. There is absolutely no reason why you or your student should be denied to continue their degree because of an honest mistake. With years of experience, a Joseph D. Lento can represent you throughout all disciplinary proceedings to ensure your education is protected.

To schedule a consultation with him today, contact his office. During this important conversation, you can discuss your situation and have any of your questions answered. Joseph D. Lento prides himself on helping individuals who need his expertise during difficult times.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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