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What Is Self-Plagiarism and Why You Should Avoid It?

While plagiarism meaning is basically using someone else’s statements, ideas, products, or images and handing them over as your own, self-plagiarism happens when you reuse an already submitted work without giving credit to the original source. You may use this work partially or completely. So what is self plagiarism? In the majority of cases, self-plagiarism is found in student publications.  As publishing scientific researches are compulsory for students in many universities, they try to find an easy way out by publishing several essays that contain the exact same information but have different introductions. Since overlapping information is never really acknowledged, this is considered plagiarism in its complete form.

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There are two main forms of self-plagiarism:

  •   Complete Plagiarism

This happens when students submit research essays that are roughly copied from another essay that they have previously submitted. This type of plagiarism in research articles is quite common. In this form of plagiarism, there might be a difference in title, introduction, the sources used in research, or some minor changes in the text of the paper, but the main idea, results & conclusions are exactly the same.

  •   Segmented Plagiarism

Segmented plagiarism is not that obvious as compared to complete plagerism and is sometimes overlooked. In this type of plagiarism, the researcher refers only partially to their previously submitted essays, borrowing some facts and ideas. However, if the original source of this information is not cited properly in the publication, it is still considered plagiarized and objected in academic circles.

Why is Plagiarism Bad?

Self-plagiarism is a negative phenomenon and there are numerous reasons behind it. Firstly, plagiarism of any form and shape is totally unacceptable in an academic environment. Also, depending on your level of learning, you may end up securing a lower grade and retaking the course. None of these would make your university experience a productive one.

Moreover, it is wrong to believe that your previous essays have been so well-written that you can now base all your next publications on it. When you’re a student, your critical thinking, as well as your writing skills, evolve over time. So self-plagiarizing your previous work means that you’re not moving ahead or discovering new ideas. Lastly, self-plagiarism depicts image of a student who is incapable of keeping up with the challenges of the academic environment, and that is a trait future professionals should not possess.

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If you are unsure whether your work is plagiarized or not, the first thing you should do is check the plagiarism policy of your college or the journal to which you’re submitting your work. If there is no clear policy on self-plagiarism, then follow these guidelines to make your work plagiarism free:

  •   Never reuse your previously submitted papers. You might be given a topic that you have written an essay on. Never submit the same work again, even if it’s for a different course. Always make sure that every part of your work is unique and written from scratch.
  •   Pass your work through a plagiarism checker. Plagiarism checkers detect overlapping content between your essay and a comprehensive web and publication content database. You can find a reliable essay plagiarism checker online, like and enter your work there. Within a few minutes, you will get to know if your work is plagiarized or not, and in case it is, you can easily rephrase those parts of the text that are highlighted as non-unique by the plagiarism checker.
  •   Always give credit to the original source. Every time you use information from someone else’s work, you must cite it properly in your essay. You should include both in-text citations and a full-length bibliography at the end of the paper.

Self-plagiarism, like all plagiarism, relates to academic honesty. Readers and professors should be able to trust that the work you have submitted is genuinely unique and new. So make sure to double-check the plagiarism policies of your institute or journal and always cite original sources properly. Also, do pass your work through a plagiarism checker to be sure that your work doesn’t have any accidental plagiarism. If you follow these simple steps, you can easily avoid self-plagiarism in your essays.


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