What Is Self-Plagiarism And How You Can Avoid It

You submitted your work to another publication. Now, you want to reuse it for creating some other content. Reusing your own work isn’t plagiarizing, right? 

Wrong.

How can republishing your creations be plagiarism? What constitutes self-plagiarism? How can you avoid it and how can you reuse your previously published content? 

I answer all of these questions in this article. First, starting with the basics

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What Is Self-Plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism isn’t theft of someone else’s ideas (obviously), but it is still plagiarism. 

Let’s say you wrote a guest-post for one of the major publications in your niche that does not allow republished content. Now, you want to write about the same topic in your own blog. So, you did the easiest thing you could and copy-pasted the published guest-post (whether fully or some excerpt) to your own website without quoting where it was originally published. 

That is self-plagiarism. And not only is it creatively questionable and may hurt your online brand trust, it might also lead to a withdrawal from the original publication (the guest post website in the above example). 

Self-plagiarism is when you reuse your previously published work, whether partly or entirely, without citing the original source. 

Wondering why self-plagiarism is wrong at all? I did too. 

Why You Shouldn’t Self-Plagiarise

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t engage in the ethically murky grounds of self-plagiarism. Here are the top ones: 

1. You are betraying your readers

Yes, I know you are not passing someone else’s idea as your own, but you are still lying to your readers. You are publishing something as brand new despite it being published elsewhere already. This erodes your reader’s trust in you. 

2. Your content may be written by you, but may not belong to you

If you are writing a guest-post or client content, the content you write may be written by you, but you may not own it. Certain publications deny the republishing of content on their website, even if it is by its author. 

3. You might be banned from certain publications (and lose online trust)

Not following a publication’s guidelines is lawfully harmful that also does damage to your online reputation. If you violate a publication’s copyright, it may lead to a ban from producing more content for them. 

Self Plagiarism

Now that you know you don’t want to self-plagiarise, here are some ways how you can strategically recycle your old content. 

How To Recycle Your Own Content (And Avoid Self-Plagiarism)

Don’t worry, it’s not all gone to rot yet. You can still recycle your previously published content. There are two right ways to do it: 

1. Check Your Old Resources And Craft A Fresh Structure

I always recommend saving your outlines, your research papers, and other resources you use to write an article. This way, when you want to write something similar, you can just revisit these notes and create fresh content on the same topic in half the time. 

2. Cite Your Previous Work

This is the easiest one of them all. Instead of worrying about rewording, just cite your previous work and quote the source. This is also called “internal linking” and it’s a common practice. 

Self Plagiarism

Final Thoughts

Now you know what exactly is self-plagiarism, why you should avoid it, and how you can still recycle your previous work. 

Which method do you prefer when recycling old content? Tell me in the comments below!

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I'm a staff writer at Elite Content Marketer and a closet poet. When not whipping up high-quality SaaS content, I'm writing bookish essays on my website, rochizalani.com, and chatting with my newsletter community. She believes there’s nothing that can’t be cured by some fresh poetry and a F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode.