Sunday, October 4, 2009

Self-plagiarism

I'm very surprised that self-plagiarism can also be counted as a form of plagarism. The concept is that if a writer reuses parts of his writing from a work he has produced before, that can also be counted as a form of plagarism because the ideas are not original anymore. But, I think the concept of self-plagiarism (if it can be even call that) as a crime is incorrect and should be reformed. As the writer, he is free to use any information or ideas he has used previously (given those were original) because those ideas are original and his. Therfore, being those are original ideas, although from another time, using one's own ideas again in another work should not be considered a violation of intellectual property rights and rules. It could be possible to argue that the author can simply have more ideas, but what if there are no better ideas than one that he has already written? What if he is asked to write on the same topic as he did before? I think in all respects the writer can use his ideas he has written about before without having to cite them.

7 comments:

  1. I kind of agree with what you have said. I don't think that you should have to cite a few ideas that you reuse, but then I don't think that you should be able to reuse an entire paper. It goes with a writer's academic integrity. A student isn't really fulfilling an assignment if he/she just takes an old completed one and turns it in as if she had written it specifically for the new assignment. It's similar to lying.

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  2. I think that Hanh has a very valid point in saying that a writer should be able to use ideas and pieces of their previous work without citing but reuse of an entire paper is not right. I suppose it is possible that a writer could be asked to write on the same topic but the chances that in reading and analyzing a text for a second time they have nothing new to say seems to be pretty slim. I personally think that while short segments of a previous work could be used without citation any large copying or reuse must be cited.

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  3. I agree as well and I am very surprised by this fact of self plagiarism. I think that once you write something it should always be your own writing because you originally produced it. I do not understand how it is considered to be plagiarism if it was in fact you who wrote it. This just seems kind of strange to me and I do not understand how one is suppose to write about the same thing if they have to constanly change their ideas so to not self plagiarize

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  4. I do not believe in self-plagiarism. A writer has his own ideas and should be entitled to use them how he or she likes, even if that means reusing them in another piece of writing. However that does not justify using an entire old paper to satisfy a new assignment. The purpose of writing assignments is to develop new ideas and improve on old ones, but simply rewording an old paper and turning it in ruins your academic integrity. Expanding your old ideas is fine. Good point Hanh.

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  5. I also agree that self-plagiarism is taking the concept a little too far. However it does make it easier to access the origin of your own ideas. When you cite your own work it makes it possible for others to see where this idea came from and perhaps understand how you came to this idea. But I must admit this idea still seems like taking a god thing a little too far. It seems like protocol for the sake of protocol.

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  6. I definitely agree with what Hanh said. I suppose that since you are the original creator of whatever you have written in another piece of work, you shouldn't really have to cite it. It's not like you're going to sue yourself for stating the same things more than once. However, I do think that every piece of work you turn in should be original, you can never fully exhaust a topic and I suppose that cracking down on the use of using the same paper for two similar prompts for different classes is to discourage you from limiting yourself to come up with new ideas and an attempt to make you think of other possible conclusions.

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  7. Remember, lawsuits are not the issue with plagiarism. It's not a matter of intellectual property; it's a matter of intellectual honesty.

    So, for example, say you were double majoring in English and Rhetoric. You could conceivably study the eighteenth-century thinker Edmund Burke for either major. But to write an honors thesis on Edmund Burke for your English major, and then turn around and use the same thesis for your Rhetoric major would be intellectually dishonest self-plagiarism. You wouldn't have broken any laws, but laws are not the point; the point is academic standards.

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