Answered By: Monique Ritchie
Last Updated: 26 Sep, 2018     Views: 18

Yes, you can plagiarise yourself.

Self-plagiarism, as it is known, is when you reproduce your own prior work without citation, passing it off as new original work. Self-plagiarism is poor academic practice and may be considered to be a form of academic misconduct or fraud under University regulations, which could result in disciplinary action. 

However, repeating common elements in your field of research, particularly jargon or turns of phrase is quite normal, and is nothing to worry about. Likewise, if you are reusing data or concepts from prior work, there may be a certain degree of similarity or overlap.

If you are building on work you have done previously, it's important to acknowledge your prior work following the same referencing conventions as you would expect for any other third party work - this is called self-citation.

If you're a PhD student, and are publishing work based on your thesis research, or are on a PhD by published works programme, you should also bear in mind that under University regulations, your thesis will be archived online. This can occur after your papers have been formally published.

It could appear initially therefore, that your thesis has plagiarised your publications. To avoid this, it is recommended that you disclose to the publisher that:

  • the work being published is based on thesis research undertaken at Brunel University London
  • it is a University requirement and condition of award that the final thesis will be archived online in the institutional repository, BURA.

If possible, it is also recommended that a brief statement is included on the publication stating this.

If your thesis is archived first, work published subsequently could seem to have plagiarised the thesis. To avoid this, it is recommended that thesis authors reference the prior published research in the thesis, including a list of publications, and a statement acknowledging that publications derived from the research also form part of the thesis. 

The thesis and any publications will usually be separate copyright works in their own right.

For further information, including on plagiarism, see the links below.