While pursuing a career or academic research and publication, it is only natural to expect academicians to develop on their previous works or pursue a set line of investigation. More often than not, research or experimental investigation spans over years and researchers may indulge in multiple publications on the matter which builds on their previous works.
However, reusing one’s own previous publication is a taboo that comes under the ambit of self-plagiarism. This is a great dilemma that is strongly challenged by many academicians who argue using one’s own work is not ethically plagiarism. However, there are certain limitations on how one can use one’s previous works, and therefore one has to be careful about how to use them.
What is the Concern?
To best understand why there are limitations to text recycling, one has to understand the reason why it is restricted. Many unscrupulous authors have been scoring multiple publications by simply rehashing the same content over and over again. This was red-flagged in the academic community, as these publications go against the ethics of academic publication. They do not offer new value or insights on the subject; they are not pushing the boundary of knowledge; they are just done for the base intention of having more publication credits or citation.
How to reuse your own content?
However, there is a genuine case of reusing one’s own content for legitimate reasons and that too is well understood. To avoid the vice of multiple publications, there are some checks and balances suggested.
The context: The context of text recycling is the most defining factor. You may have done a certain publication says while reporting your own findings. Tomorrow, you are looking to develop a review article in which you want to posit your own findings with other publications. In this case, you may definitely refer to your previous content, but it needs to be edited to fit the present context. You cannot simply copy-paste from the previous publication as it does very little value added to the news article. Edit, paraphrase, and contextualize the previous content and you can avoid the pitfall of self-plagiarism.
Citation: Even if you are using your own content, you have to ensure proper referencing and citation as you would for any other literature review. Offer the content as something you have already published before and not as something you are offering now. You also need to develop a logical flow that justifies these citations, or else you may be found guilty of just recycling text to cover up for lack of original content for the new article.
Journal selection: Journal selection is critical for articles recycling text. If you are looking to publish a series of articles in a specific journal, then referring to previous publications via recycling text has a certain context. If you are submitting articles to various journals with recycling text, it may be red-flagged under self-plagiarism.
Remembers, reusing own content is not a crime; the crime lies in the dishonesty involved in the process.