While you are busy reading about plagiarism on the internet and wondering how you never knew about this issue, you might as well want to know about self-plagiarism. Yes, there is something as self-plagiarism as well and this is that grey area that has created a chasm among the people who were once on the same page on the issue of plagiarism. Many people are wondering why self-plagiarism was even made into an issue. For them, there is nothing in the world as self-plagiarism and if there is one, it is nothing but a misnomer.
When do you know you are doing self-plagiarism? Well, as soon as you use your own material from some past piece of writing and you don’t cite it, you have committed self-plagiarism. At the same time, you might have even cited the old content that you wrote with your own hands, if you didn’t receive any permission from your instructor who is supposed to receive your project then you might still be blamed for self-plagiarism. So I cannot even reuse my own ideas, words, theories and thoughts about a matter? This is the question that everyone asks after they have come to know about self-plagiarism.
Self-plagiarism as mentioned above has resulted in a schism in people who were having the same views in the past about plagiarism. It wasn’t much difficult for them to accept that taking someone’s content, using it in your project and then not citing it at all while taking all the credit yourself is wrong. However, it is now quite difficult for them to understand that using their own words and ideas is not allowed now. They need special permissions or are not allowed at all to use their content in their successive writings.
The situation is most critical for students who are not ready to accept self-plagiarism as an issue at all. If they have completed a project in the past and are now using some of the material from that project in their new assignment, they need permission from the instructor. However, if the instructor doesn’t allow, the student has a way out of this situation but to write the new and fresh content. While there are experts in organizations dealing with plagiarism related matters who don’t consider self-plagiarism as immoral or unethical, they still have no strict and clear laws on this matter.
Some experts are of the view that a writer should be allowed to use his own content because if a writer thinks that he was able to say something impeccably in his previous writing and that now he might not be able to use more precise words to describe a similar situation, he should be allowed to copy his wordings – word for word. On the other hand, many people have been in trouble for reusing their own content, even when they cited every piece of the writing and references were provided. Is self-plagiarism really an issue? It seems that we might find a very clear answer to it in a few years but as of the moment, we are in “that” grey area.