Can You Self-Plagiarize? How to Keep Yourself From Plagiarizing Your Work?

February 21st, 2021

Reading time about 13 min

There are policies for plagiarism that help to fight plagiarism at an academic level, but plagiarism often occurs in student assignments and research papers. To ensure that students do not turn to plagiarism for completing their projects, discouraging plagiarism from the early stages of learning is essential.

Students are often confused about what is plagiarism? For them, the only word to word text copying is conceived as plagiarism. This common misconception leads to multiple problems at a later stage when they have to face plagiarism consequences.

Discouraging Plagiarism, Taking Notes

Teachers need to inculcate the habit of writing assignments individually among students. The tendency of copying assignments in the classroom later leads to the practice of plagiarizing text from other authors in academic papers. For discouraging plagiarism, it is vital to ensure that students learn about the importance of plagiarism before writing dissertations.

Fear of Assignments Should Not Be There

The fear of assignments also makes it difficult for students to work on written projects individually—the allure of copying information from the internet results in submitting plagiarized papers. Teachers need to build confidence among students who are unsure about their writing skills. Writing skills are developed over time, and students who lack confidence should pay extra attention to hone their writing skills.

For discouraging plagiarism, it is also vital to inform students regarding the legal aspect of plagiarism cases. Plagiarism is not always limited to ethical misconduct because, in copyrighted works, plagiarism also leads to a lawsuit. Hence, research scholars should be acquainted with the unethical and illegal aspects of plagiarism as plagiarism consequences can have far-reaching effects on a person’s research career.

Why Is It Important to Prevent Unintentional Plagiarism?

Deliberate plagiarism is tantamount to academic dishonesty. In many cases, unintentional plagiarism also occurs. In case of accidental plagiarism, the researcher forgets to credit one or more sources appropriately in an academic paper.

It is vital to understand that minor mistakes such as forgetting to add quotation marks to an excerpt can lead to plagiarism. Any resource that is used in a paper has to be documented and credited correctly as per the citation style used in the article.

There is also a need to arrange the cited works and notes properly. The in-text citations should include corresponding “Work Cited” entries at the end of the paper. Missing out citations or crediting wrong authors for a text is also considered plagiarism because proper credit has not been given to the correct author.

Among the types of plagiarism, people often assume that unintentional plagiarism does not attract any penalty. Accidental plagiarism is a significant issue because these instances are not just regarded as plagiarism, but such errors show the lack of meticulous reviewing.

Discouraging Plagiarism, Review

The research process requires absolute focus on details, and the presence of such errors shows a lack of focus and awareness.

Discouraging every form of plagiarism is vital to ensure that people stay away from such errors. However, manual correction is not a feasible solution. Hence, it is essential to review papers with automatic software that detects plagiarism quickly.

Are There Plagiarism Consequences for Self-Plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is a specific type of plagiarism where the person accused of plagiarism has used his/her previous work without any citation. It might not seem a grave affair as the work that gets plagiarized belongs to the same author.

However, it is essential to understand that plagiarism in any form is not suitable. Researchers using previously published material in another project need to give appropriate citation.

It is also important to note that the amount of information reproduced in a new research paper is limited. Copying an old essay with a few changes and passing it off as a new research breakthrough is unacceptable even when the reproduced material belongs to the same author. However, researchers can use previously published data for the next project on the same or related topic.

Self-plagiarism is not unlikely for freelance writers, but it is best to ensure that previously written articles are not resubmitted. There is a misconception that self-plagiarism does not involve any penalty; to a certain extent, it is correct.

Often it does not include serious offense in the academic circle. However, that does not imply that people can use their previously published works without any citation.

Self-plagiarism can also result in the habit of spinning articles without adding any new content. The issue or paraphrased articles is already emerging prominently in the virtual world. Hence the lenient stance towards self-plagiarism has also changed.

Self- plagiarism gets treated as any other form of plagiarism, and the author needs to ensure that no trace of self-plagiarism is present in the paper/article.

How to Steer Away From Self-Plagiarism?

Staying away from self-plagiarism is essential. It is not unusual to revisit ideas and rework upon previously explored themes.

Discouraging Plagiarism, Quote

However, when articles get published in any form, the information is no longer restricted to the private realm. People who have published articles and research documents in virtual journals and offline magazines need to keep a tab regarding their published works.

A simple electronic and offline publication record will ensure that previously used ideas are not reused in another paper without proper citation. It is best to use highly sophisticated plagiarism detection software that checks online databases thoroughly for generating a thorough plagiarism report to aid the process of screening new projects for self-plagiarism.

Discouraging plagiarism is possible when people are alert about possible plagiarism instances in their paper. Even self-plagiarism should not receive any encouragement whatsoever, as this, too, reduces the writers’ ability to come up with original ideas and topics every time.

With the help of anti-plagiarism software, original content is separated from copied content. Hence automatic plagiarism detection is effective in curbing all kinds of plagiarism in papers.

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