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Stony Brook University

Q Course

Academic integrity for students

Plagiarism - UiB

Self-plagiarism

Let’s talk about what it means to self-plagiarize. When you plagiarize, you are taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. But wait - if you use your own work, how is that considered plagiarism? The concept of self-plagiarism can be confusing.

When you enroll in a class, your instructor expects that you will be doing the work for that class. If you, for example, submit a paper that you wrote for a different class, you are not doing the work for the current class. 

Problem: You wrote a paper for one class that would be perfect for a different class. It would really save you some time if you didn’t have to write a completely new paper when you have a perfectly good paper already done.

Solution: Talk to your instructor. Be open and transparent about what you want to do and why. You will also have to let the instructor of the class you originally wrote the paper for know that you are hoping to use all or part of it in a different class. 

Problem: You want to make some revisions to a paper you wrote for a different class and submit it as an original paper for a current class.

Solution: Talk to your instructor about how you might be able to do this.

When you use material that you’ve already submitted for another class, you are skirting the objectives of practicing your research and writing skills and doing critical thinking for your current course. Always check with your instructor and, if you do use pieces from a previous paper, remember to cite it properly.

Additional reading on self-plagiarism