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#1
Old 02-10-2017, 05:53 PM
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Can You Plagiarize Yourself?

Let's say you publish an academic paper about Topic X, and your paper includes a few paragraphs about a related side issue, relevant to your research. Years later, you're working on an academic paper about Topic Y, and your few paragraphs about the related side issue are just as relevant as they were years ago. If you lift your own passages, word for word, without attribution, have you committed plagiarism?
#2
Old 02-10-2017, 06:07 PM
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According to my wife, who wrote far more academic papers at a much higher level than I, yes, it's plagiarism. You should properly cite your first paper, even if it was unpublished.
#3
Old 02-10-2017, 06:11 PM
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According to Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., no you haven't. To make a long story short, singer John Fogerty wrote a song called The Old Man Down the Road. His former record company, Fantasy Records sued him for plagiarism on the grounds that it sounded like an earlier song that Fogerty wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival, Run Through the Jungle. The jury ruled in Fogerty's favor. Fogerty later sued Fantasy Records to recover his legal costs to defend himself. It went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in Fogerty's favor in a precedent-setting decision.

Last edited by cochrane; 02-10-2017 at 06:14 PM.
#4
Old 02-10-2017, 06:11 PM
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Not exactly what you're talking about but singer John Foggerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame was sued for plagiarizing himself.

A guy by the name of Saul Zaentz owned the publishing rights of the entirety of the CCR song book which consisted mostly of songs Foggerty wrote.

When Foggerty released The Old Man is Down the Road from his solo album Centerfield, Zaentz thought it was too much like the Creedence hit Run Through the Jungle and sued him.

Foggerty eventually prevailed in court.

On edit: Damn, ninja'd hard by cochrane.

Last edited by minlokwat; 02-10-2017 at 06:13 PM.
#5
Old 02-10-2017, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Let's say you publish an academic paper about Topic X, and your paper includes a few paragraphs about a related side issue, relevant to your research. Years later, you're working on an academic paper about Topic Y, and your few paragraphs about the related side issue are just as relevant as they were years ago. If you lift your own passages, word for word, without attribution, have you committed plagiarism?
I'm pretty sure I've heard of it being an issue in some scientific papers before. Here is a recent-ish article on the topic (including issuing the possibility of copyright violation).
#6
Old 02-10-2017, 06:20 PM
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According to the majority opinion, preventing infringement is not the only purpose of copyright law, nor is it the most important one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The majority opinion of the SCOTUS
Creative work is to be encouraged and rewarded, but private motivation must ultimately serve the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts. The immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return for an author's creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good.
#7
Old 02-10-2017, 06:31 PM
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I appreciate the responses about copyright law, but I'm more interested in how the issue is viewed in academia.
#8
Old 02-10-2017, 06:45 PM
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Right, in scholarly writing you are expected to attribute properly even if it means citing yourself -- so you do not misidentify your old research as your new research.
#9
Old 02-10-2017, 07:12 PM
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Okay, please pay attention to this—plagiarism and copyright infringement are two different things

John Fogerty was not sued for plagiarizing himself. He was sued for copyright infringement.

If this doesn't make sense to you or you don't understand the significance of the difference, I'm happy to respond to questions.
#10
Old 02-10-2017, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minlokwat View Post
A guy by the name of Saul Zaentz owned the publishing rights of the entirety of the CCR song book which consisted mostly of songs Foggerty wrote.

When Foggerty released The Old Man is Down the Road from his solo album Centerfield, Zaentz thought it was too much like the Creedence hit Run Through the Jungle and sued him.

Foggerty eventually prevailed in court.
Which is why there soon was a Fogarty song Vanz Kanz Danz with the chorus:
Vanz can't dance, but he'll steal your money,
Watch him or he'll rob you blind.


Along with the song Mr. Greed.

Original title was Zanz Kant Danz, but he changed that under threat of another lawsuit. But it's said that in live concerts it often sounded more like Zanz than Vanz.

In 2014, when news came of Zaent's death, Fogarty responded by posting a like to the song video.

Last edited by [email protected]; 02-10-2017 at 07:18 PM.
#11
Old 02-10-2017, 07:25 PM
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nm

Last edited by Surreal; 02-10-2017 at 07:26 PM.
#12
Old 02-10-2017, 08:04 PM
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You can plagiarize yourself but this can be viewed in a range of ways depending on the research community. In some cases it is seen as being as bad as plagiarizing others, for others it is viewed as being simply lazy and in other cases it is viewed as being no big deal and in fact quite sensible. In general, it is best to cite your own work and avoid any hassles unless you know for certain that in your research area it is common practice. Also, ensure that the publication you're submitting to is okay with it.

Last edited by BeepKillBeep; 02-10-2017 at 08:04 PM.
#13
Old 02-10-2017, 08:32 PM
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COPYRIGHT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PLAGIARISM.

It's entirely possible to plagiarize the Hell out of something without violating copyright. For example, you can copy a novel's setting, character types, plot, and whatever props and set dressing you want as long as you don't use the same names and you re-write everything in your own words. Utterly unoriginal tripe like that is perfectly safe from copyright lawsuits, but it damned well is plagiarism in every reasonable sense of the term. Copyright allows people to own specific expressions of ideas, not ideas themselves, and plagiarism is all about copying the abstract ideas.

Similarly, there is no such thing as a license to plagiarize any more than there's a license to cheat on your spouse: If you have all of the relevant permissions, it's perfectly honest and, therefore, no longer plagiarism.

Finally, and I've seen this many times, too many to count, so please don't ask for examples or I'll bury you in the damned things, acknowledging copyrights and giving credit does absolutely jack shit when it comes to copyright law. If it was legal, it's just as legal without the acknowledgements, and if it's illegal, the acknowledgements don't make it any more legal.

People really, really want copyright law to align with what they consider to be dishonest, and people always consider plagiarism to be dishonest. That's where the "ALL COPYRIGHTS ACKNOWLEDGED" nonsense comes from: People think that getting on the right side of plagiarism customs (and that's all these are, customs) means they're on the right side of copyright law, and that simply is not how it works. It's never worked like that.
#14
Old 02-10-2017, 08:59 PM
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I would think that if you wanted to repeat a certain section you wrote verbatim, it would carry far more authority if you cited where it was from originally. If some analysis is relevant in two different situations, it's more likely to be accepted.

--

I think there's a section of the Illuminatus! Trilogy about a fellow called Markov Chaney that was repeated verbatim when the character reappeared in another book by one of the co-authors. But that was fiction, and presumably whoever wrote that bit was the one that reused it. Similarly, the first half of the prologue of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is identical to the prologue up to the last line of So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. But that's intentional, given how the "not" was removed from "This is not her story".
#15
Old 02-11-2017, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
I appreciate the responses about copyright law, but I'm more interested in how the issue is viewed in academia.
At my school, it is considered plagiarizing and cheating.
#16
Old 02-11-2017, 12:59 AM
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May be technically, but no.

Not the least bit uncommon for people to devote their life to a niche research topic and write a bunch of papers on similar themes. People generally like to quote their own papers since it may help raise the "importance" score some egos depend on.
#17
Old 02-11-2017, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
According to Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., no you haven't.
Wasn't the Fogerty v. Fantasy case a follow-on to the infringement case, that didn't even consider the factual question of infringement, let alone self-infringement?

An earlier case (Fantasy v. Fogerty ?) was settled by a jury in Fogerty's favor NOT on the grounds that self-infringement is OK, but on the basis that "Run Through the Jungle" and "The Old Man Down the Road" were completely different songs.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But returning to OP's question, what if the "passages lifted word for word without attribution" never did describe original research, but were explanatory, or summaries of another's research? Surely then no self-citation is needed?
#18
Old 02-11-2017, 01:09 AM
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Plagiarism saves time ...
#19
Old 02-11-2017, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Wasn't the Fogerty v. Fantasy case a follow-on to the infringement case, that didn't even consider the factual question of infringement, let alone self-infringement?

An earlier case (Fantasy v. Fogerty ?) was settled by a jury in Fogerty's favor NOT on the grounds that self-infringement is OK, but on the basis that "Run Through the Jungle" and "The Old Man Down the Road" were completely different songs.
Yes, you're right. The case that went to the Supreme Court was on the question of whether Fantasy had to pay Fogerty's legal fees on the original case. And they really are different songs (pretty obvious to me when I listen to both of them).
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#20
Old 02-11-2017, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Let's say you publish an academic paper about Topic X, and your paper includes a few paragraphs about a related side issue, relevant to your research. Years later, you're working on an academic paper about Topic Y, and your few paragraphs about the related side issue are just as relevant as they were years ago. If you lift your own passages, word for word, without attribution, have you committed plagiarism?
It is self-plagiarism, yes. It can vary in seriousness - you could be talking about duplication of a sort of boilerplate introductory paragraph of a paper you've published before, prior to the scientific results. This is wrong (IMHO) and something to be avoided, but no one's going to be that arsed and indeed I see it a fair bit (usually with non-native English speakers).

OTOH, if you're talking about publishing the same results twice with no citation to the earlier work then that's duplicate publication and (usually) serious misconduct, high risk of being shown the door anywhere good as it is absolutely flagrant behaviour (and trivial to spot in the information age). Even in the humanities, with the sort of example you give in your OP which may be more of a grey area as 'results' don't have the same meaning, it seems well out of line just to lift passages of text like that.

Sometimes PhD students will publish the introduction of their thesis as a review article (so no primary research - a survey of the field). I have a colleague who insists that they re-write the text, on the basis that it would be self-plagiarism to lift text from one publication (a PhD thesis) into another. This is an extreme position, though, as the differing publication status of a thesis and a paper means that most people would not draw that distinction IME.
#21
Old 02-11-2017, 02:35 PM
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Here's a self-plagiarism scenario: student turns in the same essay/project in two different courses. (Less easy to get away with today than when I was a youth, but let's say the profs aren't using the same online plagiarism checkers.)
It seems obvious to me that this would violate the usual norms of academic integrity, but the more I try to figure out why that's the case, the less sure I am that it's really a plagiarism case at heart.
Are we expecting the student to provide a citation saying "this entire paper was written by me last year for another class?" (I don't remember an MLA or Turabian citation format for school assignments, although now I'm sure there will turn out to be several variations.)
#22
Old 02-11-2017, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by snoe View Post
Here's a self-plagiarism scenario: student turns in the same essay/project in two different courses. (Less easy to get away with today than when I was a youth, but let's say the profs aren't using the same online plagiarism checkers.)
It seems obvious to me that this would violate the usual norms of academic integrity, but the more I try to figure out why that's the case, the less sure I am that it's really a plagiarism case at heart.
Are we expecting the student to provide a citation saying "this entire paper was written by me last year for another class?" (I don't remember an MLA or Turabian citation format for school assignments, although now I'm sure there will turn out to be several variations.)
Huh. See, to me, this seems completely natural and practical. I'd even applaud the student for his or her resourcefulness. I guess it's a good thing I never pursued a career in academia.
#23
Old 02-11-2017, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by snoe View Post
Here's a self-plagiarism scenario: student turns in the same essay/project in two different courses. (Less easy to get away with today than when I was a youth, but let's say the profs aren't using the same online plagiarism checkers.)
It seems obvious to me that this would violate the usual norms of academic integrity, but the more I try to figure out why that's the case, the less sure I am that it's really a plagiarism case at heart.
Are we expecting the student to provide a citation saying "this entire paper was written by me last year for another class?" (I don't remember an MLA or Turabian citation format for school assignments, although now I'm sure there will turn out to be several variations.)
The usual answer is that "it's plagiarism because the professor says it is"; that is, plagiarism is defined by social norms, not laws, and in a class, the professor gets to set the norms absolutely.

A more complex answer is that a paper (or any other assignment) is meant to showcase your understanding of the material in that class, not of the material in a previous class, and that copying previous work does not show the progress you made recently.

(Plus, it hardly shows you off to your best advantage. You have made progress since you wrote that old paper, haven't you?)
#24
Old 02-11-2017, 07:36 PM
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Here is my experience, judge it how you will. I have published three books, all with the same lightly edited introductory chapter. I saw--and still see--no reason for the second and third appearance to cite the first. The second was written with the same coauthor and after the first was out of print and copyright returned to us (yes, I understand the distinction, but wanted to anticipate the objection). The third was written when the second was out of print and copyright returned, but then I got formal permission from my coauthor of the first two books to use that chapter (again, somewhat edited). But I cannot view that as plagiarism.

OTOH, I was once a member of a committee that gave out government research grants. We were presented with an application for a grant whose CV showed 80 publications over the previous 5 years, an extraordinary number. Applicants were supposed to submit up to five publications from the previous 5 years and these were sent out to three referees. It turned out that the five publications he submitted were substantially the same paper published (without attribution) in five different journals. One of the referees wrote something like, "With 80 papers to choose from surely he could have found 5 distinct ones." Maybe not. He didn't get a grant and the self-plagiarism was cited as the reason (never mind that the paper was essentially trivial). So you can be accused of plagiarism yourself, but the criticism was over the inflated publication record.

I was once a member of a parents' committee that advised the school. As such I drafted, and the committee accepted a representation to Ministry of Education. A year later, the same issue came up and I was again charged with drafting a report to the government. Naturally, I used a lot of what I had said the first time. I was accused of plagiarism by a member of the committee who hadn't been there the previous year and didn't realize that I had drafted the first report. It was not the kind of report in which you give citations so I could either reuse my first report or start over and I was not inclined to do that and didn't. So I copied myself but I don't consider it as plagiarism.
#25
Old 02-12-2017, 12:27 AM
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At my university it was specifically cited as academic misconduct to turn in the same paper for different classes. As snoe said, it's still something of a grey area as far as whether it's actual plaigarism or not. I guess it's up to the school to define, and it can be against the rules regardless. Still, how would you properly cite it? And what if said paper was for two classes in the same semester? Which would be considered the first "publication"? It would be a sort of loopback situation.
#26
Old 02-12-2017, 02:07 AM
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I cannot answer the OP definitively, but it seems to me that it is best to err on the side of caution.

I wrote an academic paper some years ago, that included some quotes from a book I had written a few years before that. I gave myself proper attribution in the footnotes and bibliography. It just made sense, that no matter who researched and wrote what, if I used them, they get attribution.
#27
Old 02-13-2017, 07:16 AM
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There are all kinds of circumstances under which I could get into trouble for duplicating work I've done before.

In academia, if I try to pass old work off as new, I'll be nailed and punished for it.

If a writer tries to fulfill a contractual obligation by essentially re-writing an earlier work, he'll face bad repercussions, too.
#28
Old 02-13-2017, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jjakucyk View Post
At my university it was specifically cited as academic misconduct to turn in the same paper for different classes.
I did exactly this in college, though I had permission of both professors ahead of time. I don't know if there was any rule about it at the time. Neither professor mentioned anything.
#29
Old 02-15-2017, 06:20 AM
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To answer the OP's question: every university or college has their own academic standards policy that define plagiarism so the answer may vary but...

I've taught at 3 different universities and each one considered the inclusion of any part of any previously written papers without proper citation to be plagiarism. Each school explicitly noted that this included the authors own previous written work (whether "journal published" or simply a paper submitted for another class). Where I've taught, the minimum penalty for plagiarism was failing the course (not just failing the submitted paper) with notation on a student's permanent academic record. Maximum penalty was expulsion from the school.

At each school they further explicitly noted that a student could only submit their own previous work with advance permission from their Professor. The student would have to show me the entire paper they wanted to use (even if they only were using a small section or paragraph) and I would have to pre-approve it and they still had to cite it.

Checking for Plagiarism in 2017: For those "old school" dopers who are wondering how this works - all the schools I've taught at have software that detects plagiarism. I'm familiar with one called "SafeAssign". Students no longer submit printed papers, they submit assignments electronically and I process them through SafeAssign. I get a "% of this paper from other sources" score and that determines whether I look into it further i.e: "3% from other sources" versus 90%. SafeAssign compares the submission to everything on the web plus all other papers ever submitted to it. In my experience most papers come up in the 70% "from other sources" range, so I have to examine it further.

When I click open the paper in SafeAssign, I get what looks like a Word document with each non-original text highlighted in various different colours. When I hover over the text, a pop-up appears telling me the original source, like the newspaper article, text book, a previously submitted student paper etc."Student paper submitted by John Smith, University of Toronto 2013) (The days of using your friend's older brother's paper are gone.) Based on that I then decide whether to pursue plagiarism.

As I tell my students, using someone else's work in your paper is not the problem, not citing them is the problem, and this includes work you previously handed in.

And yes, I did fail a several students who submitted papers that they'd previously submitted in other courses. It's not uncommon for a 3rd or 4th year student to pick a topic they'd written a paper on in first year thinking they're taking a shortcut to less work. Not a good idea any more.
#30
Old 02-15-2017, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
I did exactly this in college, though I had permission of both professors ahead of time. I don't know if there was any rule about it at the time. Neither professor mentioned anything.
Same--I also made a point to get permission.

University rules are actually somewhat irrelevant when it comes to classroom conduct. The professor is free to ban things that aren't explicitly banned by the University policies and free to ignore things that are (if the professor doesn't report it, the school won't know about it, and the school can't take action on violations it doesn't know about).
#31
Old 02-15-2017, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Wasn't the Fogerty v. Fantasy case a follow-on to the infringement case, that didn't even consider the factual question of infringement, let alone self-infringement?

An earlier case (Fantasy v. Fogerty ?) was settled by a jury in Fogerty's favor NOT on the grounds that self-infringement is OK, but on the basis that "Run Through the Jungle" and "The Old Man Down the Road" were completely different songs.
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Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman View Post
Yes, you're right. The case that went to the Supreme Court was on the question of whether Fantasy had to pay Fogerty's legal fees on the original case. And they really are different songs (pretty obvious to me when I listen to both of them).
No, he's wrong, though only in a technical sense - it's the same case, not a new one. A claim for (defendant's) prevailing party attorney's fees is a counterclaim, and only exists as a derivative action to some underlying dispute. You can't just file suit seeking attorney's fees; you have to request them in your filings in the original suit.

Fogerty appealed the trial court's order (entered after the jury had otherwise decided the case favorably for him) denying his claim for attorney's fees. If he had not sought attorney's fees during the original trial, and later filed a new lawsuit seeking attorney's fees based on the jury's findings, they would have to be denied. The case is styled as "Fogerty v. Fantasy" because Fogerty was the appellant at the SCOTUS stage, not because he was the plaintiff. SCOTUS lists the appellant first in its case names, while the Federal circuit courts keep the party name ordering from the original case (plaintiff first).

I say that this is a technical distinction because it is true that the merits of Fantasy's infringement claim were not at issue on appeal. For whatever reason Fantasy did not appeal any portion of the ruling (which was almost entirely unfavorable to them).

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 02-15-2017 at 10:21 AM.
#32
Old 02-15-2017, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
The usual answer is that "it's plagiarism because the professor says it is"; that is, plagiarism is defined by social norms, not laws, and in a class, the professor gets to set the norms absolutely.

A more complex answer is that a paper (or any other assignment) is meant to showcase your understanding of the material in that class, not of the material in a previous class, and that copying previous work does not show the progress you made recently.

(Plus, it hardly shows you off to your best advantage. You have made progress since you wrote that old paper, haven't you?)
Sure, but what does it matter? I had a sort of evolving paper on data compression that I essentially started as an essay in a programming class, and that ended up as a duly cited research paper several years later.

I never did turn the same exact paper in twice, but what I did do was flesh out the existing one as I went, with minor to extensive rewriting to accommodate requirements given by the various professors.

A lot of it was just serendipity, in that each subsequent assignment could be mostly fulfilled by the same topic and basic paper framework, albeit modiifed and expanded in each example.

I guess my feeling is that what does it matter/why is it anyone's business if someone recycles a paper for a later class, so long as it's not literally a resubmission of the same exact paper.
#33
Old 02-15-2017, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
I guess my feeling is that what does it matter/why is it anyone's business if someone recycles a paper for a later class, so long as it's not literally a resubmission of the same exact paper.
I guess it depends on the purpose of the assignment. If the purpose is to get you to learn something new, or to gain experience at doing research, recycling an old paper would defeat that purpose.
#34
Old 02-15-2017, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
I guess it depends on the purpose of the assignment. If the purpose is to get you to learn something new, or to gain experience at doing research, recycling an old paper would defeat that purpose.
My thinking is that if one can recycle an old paper and get a good grade (I got consistent A grades on that paper FWIW), wouldn't that show that they have sufficient mastery already without having to go through all the steps to produce an entirely new paper? I mean, if you're assigned a research paper, and can recycle one that gets an A, doesn't that show that you're already good at that task?
#35
Old 02-16-2017, 12:34 AM
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If you had an A on a first year paper and resubmitted it in 4th year and got another A, I'd be surprised but also very disappointed by the professor or school - they are clearly not doing a good job teaching, developing assignments and/or grading.

Speaking only for myself and the school's I've taught (and still teach) at and as someone who teaches both 1st and 4th year courses, the expectations of 1st versus 4th years are dramatically different.

First years are expected to primarily display "knowledge" which is basic factual understanding, typically based on memorization of facts and definitions. By fourth year they're expected to have "evaluative" understanding. This is being able to look at new situations and interpret data and apply previous 'knowledge" to new situations to make decisions, judgments or new hypotheses on that data.

These categories are not randomly developed, they're based on "Bloom's Taxonomy"and have been used everywhere I've every taught as a formal standard to develop assessments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom's_taxonomy

I've developed a couple of courses completely from scratch. The course is identified as "introductory" or "advanced" or somewhere in between and then all the assessments I develop have to show the appropriate level of expected knowledge based on Bloom's.

I'm sure there are professors and schools that don't follow this kind of formal procedure but I've never heard of a properly accredited school not doing so.
#36
Old 02-16-2017, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
If a writer tries to fulfill a contractual obligation by essentially re-writing an earlier work, he'll face bad repercussions, too.
I was involved in a situation like that. I was editing a report that a consultant had been paid to prepare for an international development firm. While doing some research for editorial purposes, I stumbled upon an earlier report written by the same consultant for a different client, in which some of the same text appeared.

I reported this to the firm - they were not happy, although my guess is that the only consequences the writer faced were probably reluctance on the part of the firm to use him in the future, or more explicit contracts regarding the LOE (level of effort - how many days you can bill for) they would pay him for.

The issue wasn't so much that he had plagiarized himself as that he didn't acknowledge it. The firm would certainly want him to make explicit reference to his other report, because if he didn't, the firm could end up looking like they were stealing material from a competitor.

Further, the LOE in his contract was based on writing from scratch. If he'd already done a significant chunk of research and writing, he should have said something like, "I can base this part of my report on earlier work I did on the same topic, so I will only need 1/2 day rather than 5 days to prepare that section."
#37
Old 02-16-2017, 01:07 AM
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Location: Beijing, China
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
According to my wife, who wrote far more academic papers at a much higher level than I, yes, it's plagiarism. You should properly cite your first paper, even if it was unpublished.
For an example in one research paper I wrote in university, I had to cite the example as originally written by me and translated into English by me. At the time, I thought the professor was being a bit too strict. Now I understand the reasons behind his requirement.
#38
Old 02-16-2017, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
If you had an A on a first year paper and resubmitted it in 4th year and got another A, I'd be surprised but also very disappointed by the professor or school - they are clearly not doing a good job teaching, developing assignments and/or grading.
I didn't say I recycled the same exact paper, but rather that I used the prior version as a starting point for the next iteration. So separate papers, but using the previous version(s) as a skeleton or even as the bulk of the paper.

So the original was a 500 word essay on a topic of interest in computer science my first year and I chose data compression. Second go-round was a technical writing research paper a couple of years later- I took the original paper and fleshed it out quite a bit, and added a bibliography, in-text citations, etc... Third go-round was a MIS paper on a networking concept. Took the tech writing paper, expanded it a bit more with sections on audio and video compression (MP3 music and streaming video were hot topics at the time). Final go-round was another "topic of interest" essay, and I basically chopped the research paper back into an essay.

And citing an unpublished paper is kind of a strange idea, as you can't verify the citation. It's a nice idea, and there are lots of examples out there of how to cite unpublished works of various sorts, but I'd think in an academic context any citation like that is the equivalent of hearsay in a legal context, and therefore something to avoid.
#39
Old 02-17-2017, 03:57 AM
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Yes - I get what you mean - submitting a paper on the same topic is not the same as submitting the same paper. You obviously added a lot to it and it required more in-depth thinking. The point I was trying to make is that if you submitted the exact same paper in a higher level course and did well, something's wrong.

Also, we don't consider "published" as any sort of criterion. If the paper or assignment has ever been submitted in a previous course anywhere and not cited, that's it: you're plagiarizing. We define it as a "previous work" not a previously "published" work. In addition to the entire internet, I'd guess that SafeAssign's database must be +1 million papers submitted into courses and never actually published.

The amount of un-cited text "copied" to be considered plagiarizing is up to the professor's judgement. SafeAssign flags text strings to about the sentence level. If you had a sentence from your old paper inserted verbatim without a cite, "Student Paper Submitted by Bump, 2014" I wouldn't worry, a paragraph or more and we'd have a chat. Then again, if you were a first year and did that, I might give you a warning and that's it, If you were 4th year and this was a major assignment, you should know better, so I'd drop the hammer. Plus, there is no reason to plagiarize yourself, just cite your own work!
#40
Old 02-19-2017, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
I appreciate the responses about copyright law, but I'm more interested in how the issue is viewed in academia.
Speaking just about academia, I can't see why someone wouldn't want to cite a previously written paper, because it would be to the author's credit to have an extensive background on the topic. Showing that it was previously researched shows a depth on the subject. It should add more credibility.

Can you give an example of why someone wouldn't want to cite a previously researched topic?
#41
Old 02-19-2017, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
that is perfectly safe from copyright lawsuits
Nothing is safe from lawsuits. There is no mechanism to filter that a copyright lawsuit doesn't have merit and gets stamped and returned to sender. Maybe on fictional TV shows they resolve things quickly, but not in real life. That's what the court system is for, which is time consuming, expensive and stressful.

If you "ripped off" someone else's work in any way, you can expect a lawsuit. Even if you didn't intentionally rip them off, you can still expect a lawsuit.
#42
Old 02-19-2017, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoe View Post
Here's a self-plagiarism scenario: student turns in the same essay/project in two different courses. (Less easy to get away with today than when I was a youth, but let's say the profs aren't using the same online plagiarism checkers.)
It seems obvious to me that this would violate the usual norms of academic integrity, but the more I try to figure out why that's the case, the less sure I am that it's really a plagiarism case at heart.
Are we expecting the student to provide a citation saying "this entire paper was written by me last year for another class?" (I don't remember an MLA or Turabian citation format for school assignments, although now I'm sure there will turn out to be several variations.)
If a student is given the same assignment from two different classes and they are the original author of the work, there is nothing wrong with turning it in to both classes without mention of the other. There would be no reason to do this nor would the professors from either class care. If anything it would embarrass the professors they are offering redundant assignments to students.

If you wrote a term paper in high school on honey bees and are now doing research on honey bees in graduate school, it would be to the author's benefit to cite their high school term paper or at least mention it. I don't think any sane person in academic would consider this on the same level of scandal such as cheating on an exam or turning in work that wasn't your own.
#43
Old 02-19-2017, 04:08 AM
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Really, you people would cite a high school term paper in your graduate school project? Your writing style would surely have improved, your knowledge would have greatly expanded--otherwise why be in school?

But in any case it would not be plagiarism, which is taking someone else's written expression and pretending it's your own expression. Check the definition. Appropriating someone else's words.

If a student turns in the same paper for two different classes, that may very well be academic cheating, but it isn't plagiarism. Of course definitions can change but "self-plagiarism" is a lazy construct that kind of sounds like an oxymoron.

Also re: Cairo Carol's consultant, I had to laugh, because I did some work for an engineering consulting company and they had whole libraries of boilerplate for various situations, which was used for multiple clients who had the same or similar situations, and why not? I have no idea if anyone complained but I don't see why they would. If the situation was the same, the conclusions would be the same, and the consultant was paid for the conclusion and for knowing when and how to apply it. If they got that right, why should the client care if they did the original research on the same topic for a previous client?

And it seems like SafeAssign is soon going to run into the million-monkey rule. I actually ran into something like this once. I was about 3/4 of the way through a 3000-word article on a guy and his business when he sent me a pile of stuff previously published about him and the business. One of them, in fact written by a friend and colleague of mine, took exactly the same slant I was taking, and even had some of the same direct quotes from the guy, because apparently he said exactly the same thing every time he sat down in front of a writer and answered questions, and they were the typical questions anyone would think of asking. So I had to rethink and rewrite my piece, which in theory should have made it better. But I don't think it did.
#44
Old 02-19-2017, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
Really, you people would cite a high school term paper in your graduate school project? Your writing style would surely have improved, your knowledge would have greatly expanded--otherwise why be in school?
Yes, if it is related to the research topic and this is your passion. If in the previous paper you interviewed a famous scientist who's research is now part of your graduate students, you'd be stupid to leave it out because it adds some dynamic to your work that others don't have.
#45
Old 02-20-2017, 08:05 AM
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This is a topic I have some immediate interest in. I am writing a survey paper. It's not supposed to contain new material, it's supposed to summarize accepted material as a teaching aid. I have copyright permissions to use several existing papers.

I copied extensively from those papers, one of which I wrote. I tried to be careful to footnote the material I copied. I debated whether to footnote my own paper, and decided that was appropriate. But I'm curious what others think.
#46
Old 02-20-2017, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Let's say you publish an academic paper about Topic X, and your paper includes a few paragraphs about a related side issue, relevant to your research. Years later, you're working on an academic paper about Topic Y, and your few paragraphs about the related side issue are just as relevant as they were years ago. If you lift your own passages, word for word, without attribution, have you committed plagiarism?
NO, not always.


Its akin to releasing the second addition of a book. You don't have to say
"This part remained unchanged from edition one" anywhere.

What people are saying about "you should credit it" MIGHT be true.
* The other authors may want to be credited again, and their contribution made clear
* IF the institute/workplace/corporation/club/society is different between original and reuse, the old context should probably be credited.

So you should probably make it a reference, the proper place for credits in the academic context.

* Or, if its possible that a reader might decide that the statements are not self-supporting, they must be supported by some other material. Eg if you quote the conclusion of the paper, (surely its the conclusion ??? I here the cry now... Perhaps, perhaps not.) then its based on the results or perhaps references of the previous paper.. You surely should provide the reference to support that.


But just because its a cut and paste ? No
Ill do a cut and paste

1+1=2.

Where did I just cut and paste that from ? should I reference it ?


As there are no "second editions" is academic papers,its actually very often done that the original paper is cut and paste...

AIM ? cut and paste
Method ? cut and paste, perhaps a correcting or clarifying addition put in.

It could be the results that are reworked.

or perhaps just the conclusion...

It would seem to be that the conclusion might be the place to mention the previous paper and explain why this paper has so much to duplicate.

"A previous paper, produced such and a such a conclusion but it was erroneous because... "
#47
Old 02-20-2017, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardcoast View Post
Nothing is safe from lawsuits.
Well, obviously, but in the context of nothing being absolutely safe from lawsuits, plagiarizing in a way which does not violate copyright law is as safe as most things.
#48
Old 02-20-2017, 12:22 PM
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I know someone whose undergraduate thesis turned into his doctoral dissertation. Of course, "turned into" does not mean verbatim copying and doubtless wasn't. Still I don't think he had any obligation to cite his undergrad thesis. For one thing it was not published, so it would have been a useless citation. Just remember that the first reason for citation is that the reader can go read the place cited. Giving the authors credit is a secondary reason. And if you are that author, it can get pointless. I know at least some people who are into citation counting and all too ready to cite themselves.

Insofar as plagiarism is illegal copying, my answer to the OP is a clear NO.
#49
Old 02-20-2017, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
Insofar as plagiarism is illegal copying
... which it isn't.
#50
Old 02-20-2017, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
If you had an A on a first year paper and resubmitted it in 4th year and got another A, I'd be surprised but also very disappointed by the professor or school - they are clearly not doing a good job teaching, developing assignments and/or grading.

Speaking only for myself and the school's I've taught (and still teach) at and as someone who teaches both 1st and 4th year courses, the expectations of 1st versus 4th years are dramatically different.

First years are expected to primarily display "knowledge" which is basic factual understanding, typically based on memorization of facts and definitions. By fourth year they're expected to have "evaluative" understanding. This is being able to look at new situations and interpret data and apply previous 'knowledge" to new situations to make decisions, judgments or new hypotheses on that data.

These categories are not randomly developed, they're based on "Bloom's Taxonomy"and have been used everywhere I've every taught as a formal standard to develop assessments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom's_taxonomy

....
Pleased as I am to be acknowledged for my taxonomy, to my shame I regurgitated a portion of one paper in grad school for another. In that case, FWIW, the minimally recast material was added gravy, so to speak, for extra impressiveness. My Professor to her credit smelled a rat, but didn't pursue it.

Published Experts are not immune for this (leaving aside the usual dissertation-->first book deal); they soon become known as Published Lazy Scholars, and are treated accordingly.
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