I'm currently writing an article and wonder if I could copy text from various articles. Is this appropriate?

I checked similar review articles and found they copied the abstracts for similar works, but can I copy the an introduction from another article to complete my introduction?

2 Answers 2


You can quote verbatim, iff

  1. the passage quoted is reasonably short (about one sentence, but not a whole paragraph);
  2. and you put the quoted passage in quotation marks and/or italic;
  3. and you give the reference immediately before or afterwards.

For example:

As John & Ali (2012) have phrased it "this is a verbatim quote from their publiation".

However, having said that, you should avoid excessive verbatim quotations. Quoting verbatim is frowned upon and reflects poorly on your ability to express yourself. As stated in point 1 above, quoting a whole paragraph or even more is inappropriate in any case, because it implies that your text lacks originality. The same holds for near-verbatim quotes.


I can't think of any situation in which it would be appropriate to copy a section of another article (even with acknowledgment). In particular, since your article is different from any other that has ever been written, it needs its own introduction. If a small part of some other article is highly relevant, you can quote it with attribution; if you need to refer to a longer section of text, the only reasonable way to do this is to cite their article and draw attention to the appropriate section (e.g., "This is discussed further in Section 2 of (Doe et al., 2015)").

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