My research in mathematics uses concepts from a variety of subdisciplines that usually don't interact much with one another. For that reason, I need to include boiler plate sections that establish the notation for the paper and specific the definitions.

When writing a succession of articles, I naturally want to copy-paste those boiler plate sections. How do I avoid self-plagiarism?

1 Answer 1


A statement, early in the new paper, that notations and definitions are taken from ... (citation) should be enough. If you are depending on several prior papers then you may need to replicate such a statement for different sections of the new work.

The important thing is to point a reader to the earlier work(s) in which a more complete context can be found.

If the earlier work is published and you no longer hold copyright then you need to be more careful to stay within the bounds of any license from the publisher. This may require quotation and such as well as citation. But that is a separate question than self-plagiarism.

Note, however, that in citing the work of others, rather than yourself, you need to be more precise.

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