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I have two papers which are using totally different methods and are on different subjects. However, in both papers I use the same case study as a benchmark. The case study is very technical. When I describe the technical properties of this case study, if I use the same sentences, but cite that I used the same case study before, is this a problem? Is it self-plagiarism?

Since the case study is very technical, it was very hard to rephrase the description which is only two paragraphs.

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    @user207421 - Self-plagiarism has been asked about on this site hundreds of times, and there is even a tag for it.
    – J.R.
    Apr 11 at 19:47
  • I kept J.R.'s comment for anyone else that wants to question the premise of self-plagiarism, otherwise comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Academia Meta, or in Academia Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 12 at 14:37

5 Answers 5

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It's never plagiarism (although it might still be copyright infringement) if you tell the truth about what you're doing. So, if you're worried, in the second paper, say something like "the remainder of this section is the same form of words that the present authors used in rhyso et al. (2023) to set out the benchmarking method". It might also be worth indenting the reused passage to make it super-duper clear.

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    I like your answer. Depending upon the field, another option might be to only refer back to the previous article or include a summary. I've seen all three approaches and this seems to vary across journals and even editors within journals. Apr 10 at 15:50
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I use the same sentences but cite

If you cite the original paper, i.e. make it clear where the content comes from, it is not plagiarism. That applies both to regular and self-plagiarism.

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    Said otherwise, it would be plagiarism (regular or self, it does not matter) if OP had not cited the material.
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 10 at 9:26
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    @EarlGrey - It does matter for your direction of the implication - self-plagiarism is only a concern if the reused text contains ideas that would be presented as new ones in the present work. Whether you need to cite your prior work depends on the nature of reused text and on the function of the reused text in the new work. However, if you had co-authors, or are forced to reuse somebody else's formulations, then you need to cite unconditionally. Apr 10 at 20:19
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Different methods and different aspects? I mean, it does sound like you are writing two unrelated papers on a specific issue you are focusing on. If I wrote two papers about the German political system or a Swedish political party with different focuses and methods, would that be self-plagiarism? Not really. Would I refer to similar reference points in both? Probably. It seems like you are not reusing findings or approaches. As long as both papers present novel findings, you should be good.

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    Yes different aspects and methods but they are tested on the same benchmark and the text describing the benchmark is the same in two papers Apr 9 at 13:26
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    I would reference at least one of the papers in the other (sometimes you can mutually reference them). Apr 9 at 13:35
  • The question isn't about the papers as a whole, it's about the fact that both papers refer to the same case study.
    – Barmar
    Apr 10 at 14:31
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Reusing the same sentences, especially statements of fact, isn't plagiarism. Failure to attribute ideas to the original source is plagiarism, including self plagiarism.

But if there is only one way to say something, other than some paraphrasing, and they aren't statements of ideas that can be misattributed, then there are no issues.

Even copyright won't cover things for which there is only one way to say it.

In particular, using the same wording in a citation in two different papers isn't plagiarism. A citation is a statement of fact.

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The APA publication manual (American Psychological Association) presents an (in my view) rather clear explanation of self-plagiarism including situations where the reuse of exact sentences/phrases is deemed acceptable. Perhaps this might help you (https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/plagiarism). Although I realise the APA is not used in all the disciplines as baseline, it may still help you to find a position that is suitable for you.

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