Self-Plagiarism: How Risky Is It & How to Avoid It

Plagiarism is the act of taking credit for someone else’s work, whether that be in the form of text or data. It can be accidental or deliberate, but either way it’s a serious offense that can result in severe consequences for both parties involved. However, there is also another type of plagiarism that some people do not realize is even an issue: self-plagiarism (or “recycling” one’s own work). Although not as common as blatant plagiarism, this act does happen more often than you might think—and it frequently goes undetected for years until someone notices something off about your writing style.

When someone thinks of plagiarism, they usually associate it with another person’s intellectual property.

When most people think of plagiarism, they think of another person’s intellectual property. This is true, but it’s not the whole story. “Plagiarism” is a broad term that can be defined as the use of another person’s original ideas or expression in your own work without giving credit to the original creator.

For example, if you paraphrase someone else’s words without using quotation marks and indicate where those words came from (e.g., by citing a source), then you’ve committed self-plagiarism—even if no one else ever sees your work! And if someone were to copy large portions of your work without attribution (for example, if they took some paragraphs verbatim), then that would also be considered plagiarism on their part even though it technically falls under “self-plagiarism” rather than simply “copying” someone else’s text like many people might assume upon hearing this term for the first time.

So why does this matter? Well, society has agreed upon certain standards when it comes to how we engage with each other intellectually: We respect each other’s ideas and creations by citing them appropriately when we talk about them; we give credit where credit is due even when there is no expectation for compensation or reward; and ultimately this helps us build trust among ourselves because we know our colleagues won’t waste time duplicating efforts unnecessarily or undermine each other through malicious intent.”

Self-plagiarism is more common than you think.

It can be easy to write something, forget it, and then find yourself reusing some of the same material in another paper. Or perhaps you’re a student who’s using the same book for two classes and finds you’ve used much of the same material in both papers without realizing it. Whatever your situation may be, if you aren’t being careful about what you publish or share with others, chances are that at some point in time you’ll end up publishing something that has already been published by someone else.

That’s what self-plagiarism is: publishing something twice (or more) without indicating that it has been reused from an earlier publication. Some examples include:

  • Publishing a research article on one topic twice in different journals
  • Presenting data from one study as new information in another paper
  • Reusing an entire essay from your undergraduate studies as part of a graduate school application essay

Don’t plagiarize, but can you self-plagiarize?

Plagiarism is the act of using someone else’s work as your own. It’s a serious issue, and it’s important to understand that plagiarism can be committed in many different ways:

  • Taking text from an online source (like Wikipedia) and incorporating it into your paper
  • Borrowing paragraphs or sections from previously published papers
  • Using quotes from other people without proper citation

Self-plagiarism is when you reuse your own work. This can happen accidentally or intentionally, but regardless of what led to the situation, self-plagiarism is not illegal—it simply falls under academic dishonesty. So, has developed the best paraphrasing tool online to meet your rephrasing needs. If you’ve ever had to write a paper twice (or more) because you didn’t follow directions the first time around, this may sound familiar! However, while it might seem like no harm has been done by reusing old material on multiple occasions rather than starting over each time with fresh material every single time something new needs writing down—and while there may indeed not be any harm done if everything were above board here—there are still some ethical concerns worth considering before publishing anything under another title than its original one.

Types of self-plagiarism

Self-plagiarism is the act of using the same text or ideas in multiple publications. It can be unintentional, accidental or intentional.

Unintentional self-plagiarism is when you use the same text or ideas in separate publications without realizing that you have done so. This may happen if you are not able to remember writing a publication from one year ago, for example, and decide to use it again without remembering that it has already been published somewhere else. This type of self-plagiarism can often happen when you have written many papers over a long period of time and cannot remember which ones you have already published on certain topics. Accidental self-plagiarism is similar but differs because it involves writing something new that happens to contain words or points from another paper already written by yourself but not intended as plagiarism; this kind of unintentional self-plagiarism could occur if someone who read your previous article sent it back with minor changes suggesting that they thought some points were not clear enough or needed further explanation, which would then appear as though they had been added within your original manuscript at some stage after submission (and possibly accepted by an editor). Intentional self-plagiarism involves deliberately reusing material from earlier work because it has either been peer reviewed before or because its inclusion was approved by an editor during submission (this process should always be checked carefully).

What are the consequences of self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism isn’t a crime, but that doesn’t mean you won’t face any consequences if you get caught.

The first step is to figure out whether or not your self-plagiarism is actually an issue. It’s easy to get in the habit of cutting and pasting your own work, but once you’ve done it enough times, it can be hard to tell which parts are original and which are recycled. If you’re writing on behalf of an organization or company and reusing certain sections over and over again as part of your job description (such as a job posting), this might not count as self-plagiarism at all. But if you’re using similar language in several different pieces without giving credit where credit is due—or worse, claiming ownership of someone else’s work—then yes: You have crossed the line into dangerous territory.

How to avoid self-plagiarism

To avoid self-plagiarism, you should always check the dates of your previous work. If you are referencing a paper or essay that was published five years ago and it’s still relevant in today’s world, make sure to cite it correctly so that no one can accuse you of lifting whole passages from your own writing.

Another important way to avoid self-plagiarism is by not copying and pasting text from previous work into other pieces. This is because plagiarism detection software may flag these similarities as suspicious and could lead to expulsion from school or even criminal charges if it was egregious enough.

Lastly, be sure that each article has its own voice – don’t try to sound like someone else’s voice just because they wrote better than you did before!


In short, self-plagiarism is not as prevalent as we might think, but it does happen. While it can be tempting to reuse your own work in order to save time or money, the consequences of doing so can be significant. If you find yourself wanting to rework an old project (or even just some parts of it), make sure that you’re aware of how much material overlaps with what you already have written before proceeding.

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