Students are well aware that plagiarism is considered a significant threat to their grades and academic reputation. Hence, avoiding it as much as possible is to their benefits. You may succeed at avoiding duplications of someone else's works, but you might reuse your own texts, which is self-plagiarism.

Self-plagiarism is when someone uses part of their own previous publication without citing it properly or citing it at all. Another definition of self-plagiarism is when someone publishes identical pieces of writing in two or more places (which is sometimes called duplicate publication), regardless of whether it is intentional or not.

The same applies to cases when one person publishes an article first and then has a similar article published in another journal, changing only its title and giving a different spin to its text. This is considered self-plagiarism unless the author informs the second journal about including the same data and conclusions in both articles.

This may be considered one of the most insignificant types of plagiarism (if ranked by their severity), but it still deprives a paper of one of the requirements - uniqueness. As a result, you may get a poor grade or harm your academic reputation.

From this short article, you'll be able to learn about this type of plagiarism, the ways of avoiding plagiarism, and why a plagiarism checker can be of great use to you.

Why Is Self-plagiarism No Better than Other Types of Plagiarism?

This type of plagiarism cannot be called theft of someone's ideas in common sense, as a person actually uses their own thoughts and conclusions. But still, it is considered dishonest and may create issues in the academic publishing world.

In comparison to other types of plagiarism, you're not passing off someone else's work as yours. This type implies using your own works that you previously handed in and/or published at any educational institutions you've submitted them to. Of course, you may not remember writing about the same topic or coming up with the same conclusions. And you may do your research by including the same resources in your new work. But for a college or a university, using parts of the works previously submitted is still a breach of academic rules, as every new academic paper should be one-of-a-kind and provide unique insights.

How to Avoid Self-plagiarism

One of the surefire ways to avoid plagiarism is to use a plagiarism checker. Unfortunately, Educat's free plagiarism checker can't give you a great opportunity to inspect your text for duplicated content from your own works if they aren't published online. Otherwise, you can ensure that your paper is unique and doesn't contain any element(s) of the work you've already submitted in the previous periods of your studying.

All in all, our checking tool is free and easy to use. Just indicate the type of work you need to analyze (it can be an essay, web content, or other types of text) and insert the title of your work. Paste the text or upload the file (you can upload pdf, txt, doc, and docx) and click the Check button. It will only take a couple of seconds for the system to have your text checked for plagiarism. As a result, you will get an exact percentage for the uniqueness of your paper and view sources containing similar parts. As an unregistered user, you can check up to 5000 characters a day. After you register and verify your email, you can get four times that character limit.

There is also another way of avoiding this type of academic plagiarism in your papers. When using any parts of your already written work in your current academic writing, you just need to indicate that you are using it by citing it in your new paper. You must do it thoughtfully not to be accused of being lazy and putting little effort into writing your paper - even if you have been working on it for weeks. For instance, if you want to use a quote from a website article, a book, or a journal article, you need to indicate it in your paper as an in-text citation, in your reference list, or a footnote, depending on the style you chose to write your paper in (the Chicago Manual of style, the American Psychological Association reference style, etc.). Do not forget to reference your previous work in the same way.

It does not matter how you commit self-plagiarism - whether by revisiting your old idea or duplicating your previously published observation - it will have consequences. In any case, you need to refer to your old paper in your text like you usually do with other's works. When dealing with your paper, your readers should understand that the ideas you have included in it are derived from your other work.

Common Examples of Self-plagiarism

In the academic community, there are two categories of people who may commit self-plagiarism:

1. Students. The most common cases are:

  • Handing in work that was previously submitted in another class;
  • Duplicating elements of a previously submitted and/or published paper into a new assignment;
  • Using ideas from their bachelor's thesis paper to include them into their master's work (without citing sources).

2. Academics. They might find themselves committing self-plagiarism by:

  • Using a dataset included in their previous work, regardless of whether it was published or not, and failing to inform the readers about it;
  • Submitting a master's paper that includes parts of their bachelor's work from a paper already published, without properly citing it;
  • Publishing similar or even identical papers simultaneously in various academic journals.

Self-plagiarism may occur when you do not expect it; regardless, it is expected of you to double-check your work. There are a few ways in which you can avoid this unpleasant issue. Use common sense and integrity - utilize text comparison tools and plagiarism checkers to be confident that you'll get only the best grade for your paper!