Discussion on self-plagiarism at the Scientist

There's a debate going on over at the Scientist about the thorny issue of self plagiarism, and when/ if it constitutes poor practice. I used to work for someone who started every paper, research or review, with the same short paragraph and we could all recite it like a mantra - and by general agreement it was felt to be the best, most succinct way to introduce the topic, which noone else has yet bettered.

Of course self plagiarism is not to be confused with duplicate publication, where there is clear evidence of results, for example, being reported more than once without appropriate reason or reference.

The original article by Jef Akst and the comments are worth a look - including one suggestion that self-plagiarism as a term is just not used any more because of confusion with the serious issue of (non-self) plagiarism (which COPE defines as "When somebody presents the work of others (data, words or theories) as if they were his/her own and without proper acknowledgment"). A case of  self plagiarism  which was brought to the COPE forum in 2009 is discussed here.


  • Posted by Hassan, 14/10/2013 5.25pm

I am new in writing research papers. I submitted one of my article to a journal, then I submitted another article to the same journal while the 1st was under review. One of the reviewer checked for plagiarism and he reported that the similarity is 42%. He also replied that he checked both the papers with their references, author affiliations, copyright and acknowledgement parts included. I believe that 70% of references were similar (40 references in 2nd and 37 in 1st paper). Although I properly cite my previous paper six times in the 2nd paper, the reviewer just commented that he has no time to check further the paper. I believe if author affiliations, references, acknowledgement, conflict of interests portions are exempted from both papers, it will be hardly 20~25%. Rest of the self-plagiarism is in the opening of the paper in the introduction part, which is obvious if one have to acknowledge the work of other people in the area. Please comment. Indeed I will be very much thankful