self plagiarism

Why Self-Plagiarism Is Bad and How to Avoid it in Writing

Self-Plagiarism refers to reusing or recycling your own published content. In the creative world, self-plagiarism is considered an unethical task.

While plagiarism means copying someone else’s content and passing it off as your own, self-plagiarism is a bit different. In self-plagiarizing or self-duplicating, you reuse your own published content.

Self-plagiarism can involve the followings –

  1. Reusing the entire content without making any changes. In this case, the unethical copycat just copies and pastes his own previously published content and publishes it as new.
  2. Changing the title but keeping the rest of the content unchanged. It’s basically, selling the same content under a different name.
  3. Taking portions of the content and mixing them in the new content.
  4. Using the same research for multiple publications.

Plagiarizing other people’s content is extremely unethical and somewhat criminal. But self-plagiarism is just as bad as plagiarizing other people’s content. It draws people’s attention with a false hope of something original, when in fact, it contains the same content as your previously published content.

Self-duplication can cause more harm than good. Especially in a time when every content is checked with a plagiarism checker and where search algorithms are intelligent. You can’t get away with duplicating published content, even if it’s your own published content.

Why you should avoid self-plagiarism

You might think that there’s no harm in self-plagiarizing since you are “stealing” your own content. However, self-plagiarism can be as harmful as plagiarizing other people’s content.

Here are some of the negative sides of self-duplication –

  1. It can get your papers/articles rejected – if you are reusing your already published content for your research paper, don’t. Nowadays, research papers are checked online for plagiarism first, and only then they can get approval. The same goes for web content; once you submit duplicated content online, the search engines will detect plagiarism and reject your article or penalty your website. Not to forget, you might get into trouble for copyright infringement issues regardless of whether you’re plagiarizing someone else’s content or your own.

  2. Trust issues – if you publish similar content multiple times with different titles, soon your readers will lose trust in your blog. An author’s or content writer’s main priority should be their audience. It becomes the downfall of the author if the audience loses their trust in him.

  3. Bad reputation – when your readers detect that you are self-plagiarizing, they will naturally think of you as an uncreative person. So, the next time, whatever you publish, your audience might become reluctant to read your content. Similarly, self-plagiarism in website content can gain your website a bad reputation in Google’s book. As a result, your site will lose its ranking and might get a penalty as well. Self-duplication can become a long-term issue for your website. Because once your site loses its ranking in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page), it might take months or even years to get that rank back.

How to avoid self-plagiarism and write unique content

Avoiding plagiarism or self-plagiarism is very much possible.

You can take these initiatives to prevent any kind of plagiarism –

  1. Cite the sources – If you are using previously published data in your new content, inform your readers about it by using proper citations in your content.
    You can cite yourself as you would any other author. You can choose one of the existing citation styles or your institution might instruct you to follow one. The easiest way to create citations is by using an online citation generator.

  2. Use Quotations – Use quotes and mention the original author’s name to successfully legalize copied data. Quotations will help you safely use copied content since you are putting the copied text inside quotation marks and giving credit to the original author as well.

    Differences Between Paraphrasing, Quoting And Summarizing

  3. Paraphrase smartly – it’s not always possible to generate new ideas. But to make sure you don’t self-plagiarize; you must use your old ideas in new ways.
    Paraphrasing offers an effective solution to plagiarism. But to generate authentic content and avoid self-plagiarism, you must paraphrase wisely. Instead of replacing words for words, it’s better to change the tone and sentence structure while preserving the main idea.

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