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I am currently working on two papers A and B to be submitted to different conferences. Paper A is already submitted and under review and I am currently writing paper B. They address different methods but stem from the same project and thus refer to the same example use case.

Q 1: Is it acceptable to reuse a paragraph describing the use case in verbatim or is this considered self-plagiarism?

Q 2a: Does it make a (positive) difference if I cite paper A in paper B?

Q 2b: How would I do that, given that it is not yet accepted/published?

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  • Welcome to Academia! It is preferred if you can post separate questions instead of combining your questions into one. That way, it helps the people answering your question and also others hunting for at least one of your questions. Thanks! Also, there are already relevant questions at least on some parts of your question, please, take a look around first. Nov 16, 2021 at 12:20
  • Thanks for the heads-up! I felt that the "follow-up" questions would make no sense on their own, but I'll think again.
    – hielsnoppe
    Nov 16, 2021 at 12:23
  • Even if I try to reformulate my writing when it is probably unnecessary (for instance I try to change even the experimental part concerning instruments), if one found a nice formulation of a paragraph (especially as it seems a closed in itself part to be used as an example) it can be even a pity to change it. The other paper, that would be probably anyway cited, can be cited again at the end of the paragraph. Of course, it need to be a paragraph, not more. Very minor changes suffice. One cannot really invent new examples if one example is needed.
    – Alchimista
    Nov 17, 2021 at 8:13

1 Answer 1

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Note that plagiarism in scientific work and especially self plagiarism is something that is judged by the community, not by courts (generally, though there may be exceptions). So, yes, copying a paragraph from one "to be published" article to another, might be judged self plagiarism. So, cite the older work in the newer.

There is also, potentially, a copyright issue, though I suspect that you hold copyright at the moment to both, making it moot.

As to the "how" of it: "The following paragraph is taken from ... by the current author(s)". Or, perhaps, a footnote to that effect.

While it is a bit less likely to be the case for conferences, you may have an opportunity to update the final text of the second paper once the first appears and before the process ends for the second. The submission may not be the final form of the paper and a less formal (but correct) citation may be all that the reviewers need.

Citation is proof positive against claims of self plagiarism. It permits the reader to refer to the cited work as necessary.

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