Self-plagiarism: A writer’s guide

Of all the things that make publishers see red, plagiarism has to be among the worst. It’s the surest way to have your work rejected out of hand. But what about the concept of self-plagiarism? Do you even realize that it’s just as much of a problem?

Join our in-house writing teacher over on her blog today as she clears up the issue.

Patricia J. Parsons

Some years ago, I wrote a blog piece on self-plagiarism, a concept that seems to be largely unknown in circles of wannabe writers these days.

It seemed important at that time because I was still teaching full-time at a university, and a former student contacted me to ask for advice. She had been taught over and over again while she was student about the perils of plagiarism. According to how she told it, now that she was out in the work world, she was routinely asked to do what she believed to be plagiarizing. I wondered whether or not she was really defining plagiarism accurately, or perhaps there was a different crime that needed consideration. It turned out that it was a situation more akin to “self-plagiarism.”

Just to back up a bit: I was an accidental academic. I never intended to have a 26-year career that took me all…

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