Is it possible to publish the same article in multiple journals published in different languages? For instance, I have a published SCI journal article, but I want to publish the same article in a domestic journal for a local research community as well and vice versa.

Will it be consider self-plagiarism?

How do I deal with the copyright issue, considering the publishers of the journals are different?

  • 6
    Regardless of if this is or not a thing to do, self-plagiarism only exist if you do not state that you have published this before. If the local journal accepts a translation of the paper, as long as you do say that the original work is somewhere else, then it can not be plagiarism. Plagiarism implies knowledgeably hiding that part of what you publish is not original at the time of publishing. Jun 19, 2017 at 11:53
  • @ander what about the copy right which belongs to the international journal? Also what about other way round if I publish a domesticly published article in an international venue, usually the copy right agreement state that article is not published before.
    – Mohaqiq
    Jun 19, 2017 at 11:59
  • 1
    @AnderBiguri: You should turn your excellent comment into an answer.
    – Schmuddi
    Jun 19, 2017 at 11:59
  • 1
    @MBK: If you're also asking about copyrights, you may want to edit your question so that it becomes clear that your concerns aren't just about self-plagiarism (Ander's comment addresses that aspect).
    – Schmuddi
    Jun 19, 2017 at 12:01
  • Is a translation also covered by the copyright to the original.
    – Walter
    Jun 19, 2017 at 12:23

4 Answers 4


As I suggested in the comments:

Regardless of whether or not this is an ethical thing to do, self-plagiarism only exists if you do not state that you have published this before.

If the local journal accepts a translation of the paper as a submission and you do not break any copyright agreement with the original journal, as long as you do say that the original work is somewhere else, then it can not be plagiarism.

Plagiarism implies intentionally hiding that part of what you publish is not original at the time of publishing.

  • 16
    Both journals have to agree to it, since the first journal (most probably) owns the copyright to the original article.
    – Sverre
    Jun 19, 2017 at 13:22
  • 4
    @Arno Regardless of plagiarism, copyright is relevant to mention because OP wants to publish the same article in a different place. My academic education has always taught me that self-plagiarism is exactly what wikipedia describes: The reuse of significant, identical, or nearly identical portions of one's own work without acknowledging that one is doing so or citing the original work is sometimes described as "self-plagiarism" Jun 19, 2017 at 13:34
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    @AnderBiguri I agree that copyright is relevant for the overall "is this ok?" question. It is not relevant for the "is it self-plagiarism?" question. Since plagiarism is about other peoples' work, self-plagiarism is not a special case, but just an analogous concept. There are important differences, eg when it comes to acknowledging unpublished material.
    – Arno
    Jun 19, 2017 at 13:39
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    @PeteL.Clark My link to Self-plagiarism is a subsection of the exact same Wikipedia article you linked .... I do understand the differences, but I still think it is essentially the same thing. Jun 19, 2017 at 15:00
  • 3
    Suicide is not murder, masturbation is not intercourse, and self-plagiarism is not plagiarism. SCNR
    – Uwe
    Jun 19, 2017 at 17:09

When the paper is submitted and accepted you are still the Author, but the copyright may be transferred from you to the publisher, see the copyright details in the contract.

Therefore, your question is not about plagiarism rather about copyright.

You have to have official permision to publish the paper elsewhere from the actual copyright holder(s) and the terms must be approved by the second (third, fourth,...) publisher as well. It is allways good to inform all the groups involved. Asking the owners is a must.

Regarding the self-plagiarism; you have to refer to the first paper. The later one(s) can be referred only as translations of the first one.

There are four options what you can be accused of:

  • Nothing: All owners and new publishers are informed and granted the permissions and you clearly state that the later papers are just translations of Paper #1;
  • Self plagiarism: All owners and publishers granted the permissions but you are referring the papers as separate works;
  • Copyright violation: The owner of the copyright of the original paper is not aware of the translation but you refer to this paper in later papers stating it is translation only;
  • Self plagiarism and copyright violation: You hide the information that paper #2 is just translation of #1 to all owners, publishers and society.
  • Not all academic publishers take the copyright of a paper.
    – rhialto
    Jun 19, 2017 at 15:16
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    @rhialto I think it is safe to expect that they do and if they do not it is at least polite to let them know. I have changed the statement to address that more correctly.
    – Crowley
    Jun 19, 2017 at 15:35
  • You should certainly let the original publisher know (and ask for permission if you gave them copyright), and the publisher of the translated article will also want to know what they Are publishing. There is however a growing number of good publishers who leave copyright with the Authors - contrary to the blanket statement in this answer.
    – rhialto
    Jun 19, 2017 at 15:39
  • @Crowley In any case the author should know, because in order to transfer copyright they will have to sign a contract to that effect. If they haven't, the copyright is still their own. (But they almost certainly had to sign something, since either they had to transfer copyright or they had to give the publisher permission to print the paper!)
    – Charles
    Jun 19, 2017 at 20:06

Here, self-plagiarism would be to give the impression that you have two articles in a situation where you just have one article in two languages. In order to avoid this, one article should clearly be marked as a translation of the other, probably already in its title (ie something like " (Translated from in Journal)".)

The journal publishing the translated version obviously needs to be aware that they are dealing with a translation, rather than an original article. Moreover, you need to make sure that you either retained the right to publish a translation in your dealings with the original journal, or receive their permission.

  • 2
    This is exactly what I say in my answer :) Jun 19, 2017 at 13:37

There are three seperate issues, copyright, academic integrity and critera for publication.

First the copyright thing. Traditionally many journals insisted on a copyright transfer. Nowadays some will let you keep the copyright but there is still likely to be an element of exclusivity in your contract with them.

Secondly academic integrity. The default assumption with journal articles is that they represent new work. Publishing work in journals twice without aknowlaging that fact is considered "self plagarism" so you should make sure that the second publication clearly indicates it is a translation of the first.

Thirdly critera for publication, the general policy of journals is usually to publish original work. Some may make an exception for translations others may not.

So IMO if you want to do this you should ideally approach both journals about it as early as possible in the process.

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