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Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism Policy

March 5, 2015 Filed under Blog, Featured, Publishing 

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Recently, I had the opportunity to help develop a policy for plagiarism and self-plagiarism for the journals of the American Meteorological Society. That policy was published in the February 2015 issues of the various journals. Although the policy for plagiarism was perhaps not too surprising, the policy on self-plagiarism is, as far as I can tell, the first statement by a professional society as to what is acceptable and unacceptable with regard to plagiarizing oneself. Specifically, here is what the policy says:

Self-plagiarism occurs when substantial amounts of text previously published by the same author are used without citation and without quotation. In practice, some similarity or duplication of text may be deemed acceptable (if properly cited), particularly when describing equations, data, or methods where similarity is essential to convey consistency across multiple papers or to convey precision. To avoid self-plagiarism, sections containing duplicate or similar text must (i) appropriately cite the original source to promote the primacy of the source and (ii) indicate that the text largely follows directly from that source [e.g., “The description of the dataset parallels that of Smith et al. (1980) as follows in the next two paragraphs.” or “The methods are the same as employed in Smith et al. (2008), and the following text is derived from there with minor modifications.”]. Editors will determine the acceptability of such cases of duplicate or similar text and may provide guidance to authors about how to avoid self-plagiarism.

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One Response to “Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism Policy”
  1. Another great post, Dave–at least once I get my laughter under control from reading that “Shit Academics Say” tweet! 🙂

    Kudos to you and your colleagues for drafting that statement on self-plagiarism. I know you discussed the issue in Eloquent Science, but it’s good to codify it in an AMS statement with the force of influence that medium has.

    There’s usually nobody more familiar with the works of oneself than oneself. As such, it’s easy to fall into that trap of redundancy, even by accident. However, the cynical side of me (which I try with mixed success to keep under control) wonders how much self-plagiarism is a deliberate exercise in laziness and/or padding.

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