Can You Plagiarize Yourself and What Are the Consequences?

The number one aspect of academics that haunts students is plagiarism. Understanding it is one thing; delivering plagiarism-free work is another. In layman’s language, it refers to submitting or using other people’s words, phrases and ideas without giving proper citations, begging the question, can you plagiarize yourself?

Self-plagiarism occurs when writers reuse their material or work submitted to professors or published. Can you plagiarize yourself? And if you do, what are the consequences? Read on for more details.

What Happens if You Plagiarize Yourself?

Most institutions consider self-plagiarism unethical and unacceptable. Their argument is it is misleading to make your readers or professors think the material or content you submitted is new and original. It equals taking undue credit for someone else’s ideas and expressions. Why is this the case, yet you are the original author of these academic materials?

Is it considered plagiarism to reuse my own work in a new paper or assignment? Yes! It might seem harmless to think you wrote the sentences and can use them in upcoming projects, but guess what? Self-plagiarism is unethical. It is likened to re-submitting your previous assignments or papers after heavily paraphrasing content from previous material and using them as new. Utilizing already-used facts or data is also considered self-plagiarism.

What Are Some Examples of Self-Plagiarism, and How Can I Avoid Them?

Now that we have cleared the air around plagiarizing your own work, it is only fair to highlight examples of self-plagiarism and work on ways to avoid such instances. But first, I would like to introduce you to a friend you did not know you needed. EssayAxe is a team of competent, diverse and reliable academic service providers. We offer services across the following fields:

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What Is the Difference Between Self-Plagiarism and Proper Citation of Your Own Work?

Before getting into details, do you know what self-plagiarism looks like? By definition, it is the reuse of one’s previously published material. Nonetheless, allow me to take you through examples to paint a better image of what it looks like:

  1. Reusing your own work without permission or citing yourself.
  2. Submitting a piece of assignment, coursework, project, research paper or essay that has already been submitted.
  3. Reusing the same data, statistics, information or facts used in previous submissions without acknowledging its usage.
  4. Lifting ideas from your previous projects to a new project without citing them; for instance, using ideas from your bachelor’s project to your master’s thesis.
  5. Using ideas from presentations you used for group discussions and conferences in your written submissions without referencing them.
  6. Failing to or citing yourself incorrectly.
  7. Utilising assignments you presented in your former school for similar subjects in your current school.
  8. Heavily paraphrasing sentences you previously used in older coursework and present them as your original work.

What Are the Consequences of Self-Plagiarism in Academic Writing?

Plagiarism is illegal in most academic institutions and publications. If you are found guilty, you stand to be penalised. Therefore, it is important to avoid it. Every institution has its consequences for plagiarism, and the severity of the punishment depends on its policy.

Meanwhile, these are the possible consequences:

  1. An immediate failing grade in that specific paper or assignment or the entire course, depending on the severity of the issue.
  2. A severe warning to remind the student to be careful when working on future projects.
  3. The student’s expulsion if the issue is grave.
  4. A disciplinary hearing to establish the seriousness of the issue and the level of punishment.

How Can I Avoid Self-Plagiarism in My Writing?

Having gotten this far, you are privy to the issue and its consequences and do not want to become a victim of the same. So, how do you avoid the consequences of reusing one’s previously published material? These tips will help you not fall prey to the issue:

1. Avoid Reusing Old Material

If you can, avoid using previously submitted material. Instead, research more and develop new material from scratch. It does not matter if your research is about a topic you previously worked on and was published.

2. Seek Your Professor’s Guidance

How can I give credit to my previous work when incorporating it into a new piece of writing? If you insist on using your previous projects, involve your professor in the research process. They might be lenient about it and maybe help you manoeuvre the issue. On rare occasions, they will pinpoint instances where you are unaware you plagiarised. Allow them to review your work before submitting the final copy.

3. Restructure Your Ideas

Paraphrasing your words from our old work in the new project violates copyright and plagiarism laws. Therefore, you could restructure your ideas from scratch and, if possible, use new material and information your old submission has not touched on.

4. Cite Yourself Appropriately

It does not matter if your professor consents to reuse your own work; you ought to acknowledge in your citations that you have used this content before. This part addresses the elephant in the room; what is the difference between self-plagiarism and proper citation of your own work? Acknowledging the reused material helps avoid any kind of disciplinary action.

READ ALSO: How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

How Can I Check if I Have Accidentally Self-Plagiarized in My Writing?

Before making your final submission, check for the possibility of self-plagiarism. Utilise tools like Turnitin, Plagscan and Grammarly. So, does Turnitin know if you plagiarize yourself? Yes, it does. It compares your submission with the papers in its database.

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