Self-plagiarism is not plagiarism

Self-plagiarism is not plagiarism

Discussion ● Engird, Damien, Oosterhough, and Iniback

In terms of research ethics, self-plagiarism is a nonsensical term, write the National Research Ethics Committees (FEK).

Helen Engerd is Director of the Research Ethics Committees. She and several secretarial managers are now working towards understanding the much-discussed concept of self-plagiarism.

This text is a discussion post. The content of the text expresses the opinion of the author.

Research ethics are modern He was placed on the agenda in connection with a case in Høgskolen i Innlandet (HINN) in which a student was banned for two semesters for reusing his own text from a failed exam. The case was appealed to the Joint Appeals Board, which upheld the ban. The student later went to court, but lost in the district court. The case received a lot of attention, and more than a hundred researchers signed an open letter criticizing the treatment at HINN and the Joint Complaint Board. The public debate also highlighted the ambiguity associated with the concept of “self-plagiarism” and the disproportionate use of feedback against students.

The issue is not related to research ethics, but because concepts such as “cheating” and “plagiarism” are also rooted in research ethics guidelines, many people draw parallels between the case of a student and research ethics. In the Ministry of Education’s proposal for a new university and college law (Prop. 126 L (2022-2023)) it is stated, for example, that “there must be a reasonable congruence between the requirements that students meet for examination and research and the ethical requirements placed on researchers that must train the students on it. Conversely, as the proposal states that fraud should not include the reuse of a person’s work that has not been evaluated or has been rewarded: “This would be in keeping with general ethical principles for research that distinguish between published and unpublished work.”

Self plagiarism

The lawyer believes that the Chairman of the Joint Complaints Board should consider resigning

Not in the public sector
In the discussion or in the proposal, it is specified what the research ethics framework actually is. Nor is it clear which standards are at risk and why some violations are more serious than others. So we will shed light on this aspect of the issue.

In the sense of research ethics Plagiarism is taking all or part of someone else’s work and presenting it as one’s own, as stated in the National Research Ethics Guidelines prepared by NENT and NESH. Plagiarism can take many forms, from directly reproducing someone else’s text to presenting others’ ideas, hypotheses, concepts, theories, interpretations, data, designs, illustrations, and findings. The central point is that the person who impersonates is stealing for someone else work and presents it as his own. Honestly, plagiarism is theft.

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Plagiarism is not compatible With good scientific practice for many reasons. Basically, it violates science’s commitment to truth and a rule honestyBecause the person who plagiarizes is lying about the source of knowledge. Plagiarism violates a rule authenticityBecause the latter work seems more independent and innovative than it really is. breaks the rules about compliance
And criticismBecause the sources of knowledge are hidden. Contradicts the standards about humility And fellowshipBecause the collective nature of knowledge lacks communication.


At least 90 students have been banned for self-plagiarism. One university stands out

One that works fine
The research community requires that significant contributions be recognized and appreciated. At the same time, there is a tension in the scientific normative system between recognition of authenticity and rules of modesty and collegiality. This exact discrepancy can be quickly replaced if the research reward system unilaterally promotes originality and competition. Tensions at the system level can lead to ineffective and deviant behavior at the individual level, such as cheating and plagiarism. Therefore, social distancing is an important reason for severe penalties for plagiarism in the research community: it undermines mutual trust in research and trust in research in the community. There is also an important difference between plagiarism and what is called self-plagiarism.

In the sense of research ethics Self-piracy is a meaningless term, because one cannot steal from oneself. Linguistically, it is more correct to talk about “reuse of one’s own labor” or similar practices such as “duplication” or “intoxication”. Nor is self-plagiarism central to the research ethics guidelines. The term is only used in a negative sense, and then not in connection with plagiarism, but as an example of bad attribution practice: “Also in the case of repeated use of text from the same person’s publications (so-called ‘copying’ or more misleadingly referred to as ‘self-plagiarism’ ( NESH 2016, Bulletin 26. Good Reference Practices). Self-plagiarism is separated from more serious violations, such as fabrication, forgery, and plagiarism (FFP). In the latest edition of NESH Guidelines as of 2021, mention of “self-plagiarism” has also been removed.

Research ethics guidelines So it is assumed that self-piracy is not plagiarism. Distinguish between reuse king work and plagiarism for someone else
a job. There is also a wide variation in the severity of rule violations, as shown by Ole Andreas Rogenstad and Harald Ergens-Jensen in the anthology Scientific honesty, published by FEK in 2016. So-called “self-plagiarism,” for example, is not a breach of standards of scientific truth in that one misleadingly presents someone else’s work as one’s own. At the same time, there may be a breach of the rules of truth, because the work is presented as more original than it is. However, there is a big difference between stealing and bragging: when researchers steal from each other, trust in the research community and trust in research in the community is undermined. When scientists brag about old findings as new, they are first and foremost undermining their own credibility.

also internationally Is it common to distinguish plagiarism from self-plagiarism. In US law, the definition of plagiarism is expressly related to the taking of others, and self-plagiarism is not included in the definition of misconduct (Search misconduct). This is also the case in the new version of TEuropean Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (2023), where plagiarism is associated with misconduct, while self-plagiarism is cited as an example of other unacceptable acts (Unacceptable practices).

The problem occurs when The vague term “self-plagiarism” is equivalent to “plagiarism” and is subject to the same assessment in casework. Juxtaposition creates uncertainty about the normative basis for assessing the severity of any breach of the rule. Therefore, it is clear when the Ministry of Education specifies in the new proposal that the reuse of own work that did not produce results should not be considered cheating. It is also important for organizations to work together to develop a common understanding and practice moving forward.

The work of institutions With good research ethics there are two aspects: the first and most important is the promotion of good research ethics, and the second is about preventing, detecting and dealing with cases of misconduct. A unilateral focus on fraud and investigation of misconduct can help divert attention away from the preventive task associated with good referral practice, both as a collective core value and as a prevention of misconduct.

Research ethics guidelines NENT and NESH lay the foundation on which all research should be based on good referencing practices: “Acknowledgment of the work of others is important to the preservation of collective culture, and is a prerequisite for verification and criticism.” (NESH 2021, 8. Good Reference Practices) It also includes reusing one’s own work. Therefore both students and staff should be aware of the standard basis for good referral practice. Ragnvald Calleberg explained this in the article “Good and Bad Referral Practices” in the above anthology Scientific honesty (2016), related to core criteria such as honesty, authenticity, co-ownership, criticism, humility, and trust. Training in research ethics and knowledge of the essential criteria for good referral practice should be an integral part of further work to develop a common understanding and practice in organizations.

Self plagiarism

Ola Borten Moe announces clearer guidance on self-plagiarism

Professional management A basic criteria can show that the reuse of one’s own work can also be justified in research ethics. It is absolutely essential for scientific activities, which must be based on the research and dissemination of previous ideas. Thus, self-plagiarism is not plagiarism, which is understood as plagiarism from others. Instead, it is about negligence and bad referral practice.

Of course it can It can also be dangerous, depending on the extent, but it is fundamentally different from plagiarism.

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Dalila Awolowo

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