I've noticed a number of questions about self-plagiarism, and since it tends to be a fairly distinct subject, I'm thinking it would be useful to have a subcategory. Such posts would still be tagged , but I think the additional distinction would be useful. Would others agree?

  • 2
    The tag definition for plagiarism already includes self-plagiarism in its definition. I would prefer that one or the other apply here. If it's plagiarism, it's not self-plagiarism, and vice versa. Otherwise, it'd be a tag synonym.
    – Compass
    Nov 24, 2014 at 17:03
  • @Compass I don't think it's a synonym. I'm ambivalent about whether to remove the plagiarism markers, since I don't yet have a good sense of where this community falls on inclusionism vs. deletionism when it comes to tags.
    – jakebeal
    Nov 26, 2014 at 13:25
  • Seeing some support and no strong objections, I've created the tag and started tagging things; I'll dribble in the marks over time to as not to slam the front page badly.
    – jakebeal
    Nov 26, 2014 at 13:25
  • @jakebeal you can also add a tag wiki excerpt defining its intended usage - generally, it's good to do that immediately when creating a new tag, so people can see how to apply it properly.
    – ff524
    Nov 26, 2014 at 13:30
  • @ff524 I thought that might be the case, so I did so with the first tag I created - it should be in your review queue now.
    – jakebeal
    Nov 26, 2014 at 13:32
  • Wow... there are a surprisingly large number of questions that are about self-plagiarism. Dribbling in the edits will take quite a while...
    – jakebeal
    Nov 26, 2014 at 13:41
  • 1
    Oi, should we be retagging self-plagiarism and removing plagiarism or just retagging? As in if it's one, it's not the other?
    – Compass
    Nov 26, 2014 at 15:44
  • @Compass I don't feel like I have a clear understanding of whether removing the plagiarism tag is appropriate, so for the moment I'm acting conservatively and I'm just adding self-plagiarism tags.
    – jakebeal
    Nov 26, 2014 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


I agree. The tag description for plagiarism currently reads

Plagiarism is the practice of taking credit for someone else’s work. Also included in this tag are questions on self-plagiarism, which involves redundant publication or reuse of one's own work in an unethical manner.

I think this is pretty awkward. The second sentence admits that the plagiarism tag includes something which is not part of the definition of plagiarism.

In fact I dislike the term "self-plagiarism" as it seems to muddy the definition of plagiarism, which I would like to be perfectly clear. If plagiarism is the practice of taking credit for someone else's work then it follows that you cannot plagiarize yourself. This is not to imply that there is not a class of academic misconduct involving improper use and reuse of one's own work: of course there is. I just would prefer a different term be used for it. However, "self-plagiarism" seems to have caught on and, as it seems to give people the right idea, I can live with it.

On a site like ours, distinguishing plagiarism from self-plagiarism seems useful (even educational). Creating a separate tag would be a good idea.

  • This also implies it would definitely be better to leave only the new tag for these questions, removing the original one entirely.
    – o0'.
    Nov 27, 2014 at 10:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .