I finished my Ph.D. recently and I am about to submit my thesis but I have copied a few lines from the discussion and results from my own papers. Will it be considered plagiarism? Can I exclude my papers while running Ithenticate software or should I contact springer nature and ask for permission? Please let me know if I need to quote text copied from my paper.

  • 1
    My answer is "No." As far as I know, most journal publishers won't have any problem if you reuse your own paper's languages in your thesis. You still need to check journal publisher's policy. Some may require you get a copyright permission, some may require you to make an acknowledgment. For the university, when the graduate school uses anti-plagiarism software to check your thesis and find you use your own paper in your thesis, they won't have any problem Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 6:52
  • I agree with @Part-timeEngineer, but if it is only a few lines, why not just rephrase them? That might be quicker than checking with the publisher and your university.
    – Oliver882
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 7:16
  • Why don't you think you need to cite the earlier work?
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 10:40

3 Answers 3


I quote Springer's policy about how author should reuses their own articles in their thesis. You may check it yourself.

"Authors have the right to reuse their article’s Version of Record, in whole or in part, in their own thesis. Additionally, they may reproduce and make available their thesis, including Springer Nature content, as required by their awarding academic institution. Authors must properly cite the published article in their thesis according to current citation standards. Material from: 'AUTHOR, TITLE, JOURNAL TITLE, published [YEAR], [publisher - as it appears on our copyright page]’ "

Website is here: https://www.springer.com/gp/rights-permissions/obtaining-permissions/882


Apparently the copyright of the earlier work is held by Springer (or another). That implies that you need to treat the work like any other copyrighted work, though you hold a certain license from them for certain uses (typical case). You need to abide by that license.

You would be best to quote and cite the earlier work, which I can't see as being a problem in a dissertation. Straight up copying with no indication that it is copied could be seen by those judging your thesis as improper self plagiarism.

Note that copyright and plagiarism are distinct. The former is governed by (usually civil) law and the latter usually only by custom (with some exceptions unlikely to apply to self plagiarism).

The license from the copyright holder is probably generous enough that you can quote and cite longer passages than you could from the work of another but that doesn't solve the (self)plagiarism issue.

Note that self plagiarism is an issue because reader of a scholarly text wants the complete context of the ideas to be readily available. Some of that context is only in the earlier papers, so you want to keep in clean and clear.

Caveat: I'm assuming that the "few lines" contain significant information pertinent to the conclusions. A few lines of "filler" not essential to the whole is probably inconsequential.

  • You would be best to quote and cite the earlier work - depending on the field and university, quoting may or may not be necessary (some of my thesis chapters are > 90% verbatim copies of my own published work, I mention+cite this of course but I don't quote). But an advisor should be able to advise on that.
    – user53923
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 15:04

It is technically plagiarism but not of the type that will get you in serious trouble. They are your words, after all. But you can very simply mitigate this - just quote yourself and cite the paper. Or, rephrase it. The rule is in place to prevent one from appropriating others’ work as their own

  • Even rephrasing probably requires citation to avoid self-plagiarism.
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 19:15
  • @Buffy yea, I agree that would be best
    – HEITZ
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 19:16

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