How plagiaristic is it when one of the authors A,B or C, who wrote together a paper, reuses part of this paper in a second publication, written with D and E?

Is that still self-plagiarism? Is that worse than when a single author plagiarizes his previous work?

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    This natural conundrum highlights the nonsensical aspects of the current notion of "self-plagiarism"... which could not make sense unless "publication" were essentially status-enhancing, as opposed to an obvious continuum of on-going improved understanding. Srsly, if I understand a thing a bit better than I did a few months ago, I would tell the improvement, but I'd recall more-or-less-verbatim the previous. To be prohibited from this is just silly. Jun 4, 2016 at 0:46

1 Answer 1


If A, B, and C write paper X together, then they are all taking responsibility as co-authors for its content, which effectively belongs to all of them jointly.

Now, let's say that A reuses text in an inappropriate way in paper Y, authored by A, D, and E. Even if A wasn't the one who originally wrote the reused text, A was certainly part of the editing and revision process and has actively affirmed that this text is a good expression of A's understanding of the material in paper X.

I would thus count such reuse as self-plagiarism: the material from paper X is part of A's prior work, and the issue is that this text has been reused in an uncredited manner.

In fact, I would even count it as self-plagiarism if is was D or E that copied the material (this situation could actually happen fairly easily, if D or E copies the material as "placeholder material" into a first draft, expecting it to later be revised). Again, the supposition is that A, as an author of paper X, will know their own work and has a responsibility to ensure that it is properly credited or properly paraphrased in its new context in paper Y.

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