By now most authors have at least heard this term, but it has only recently begun to be more clearly understood! So if you are still wondering what the fuss is all about – take heed! I won’t go into a lot of detail here because the details are described very well by in a recent post on the iThenticate Blog. And, they have provided a white paper that you can download a copy of the white paper titled “The Ethics of Self-Plagiarism.”
There are two key points that I do want to comment on because I believe these points are important to notice, whether you have considerable familiarity with the idea of self-plagiarism, or are just learning about the concept:
- When your work is published in a journal or a book, and you have transferred copyright to your publisher, you need to treat your own work in the same manner as you would that of a work published by someone else. The publisher now owns the copyright, not you!
- The basics of “fair use” of any work are not governed by strict rules. Rather, there are guidelines that help to determine how much of a published work, yours or anyone else’s, can be legally (or even ethically) quoted and cited. Many publishers have their own guidelines concerning how much of a published work can be cited without obtaining the copyright holder’s permission. So become familiar with not only general “fair use” guidelines, but also the guidelines of your publisher.
The Copyright Clearance Center has an excellent 6-minute video that explains the basics of copyright, including the basics of fair use. Watch it, and make sure everyone on your team knows that this resource is available.