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Is it Plagiarism if You Use Your Own Work?

  • Posted by Amanda
  • July 19, 2017
Is it Plagiarism if You Use Your Own Work?


Can you plagiarize your own work? That’s a question we receive from many of our student customers. They want to know, is plagiarizing yourself even a thing? Well, we are here to answer the question, ‘Can you plagiarize yourself?’. Our answer is a resounding, ‘maybe’. You see, it depends. Yes, plagiarizing your own work is possible. However, not every instance of using your own work is plagiarism. Keep reading to learn when the answer to ‘can I plagiarize my own work?’ is yes and when it’s no.

Reusing Your Own Papers is Plagiarism

Is it plagiarism if you use your own work for a different class? Here the answer is absolutely yes. You can commit plagiarism of your own work if you submit an old paper for a new class. Worse, it is very likely that you will get caught. If you have already turned in a paper, plagiarism scanning databases likely have that paper on record. When your instructor sees that you have submitted your own paper, they will know that you have attempted to plagiarize your own work. In this case, the answer to ‘can I plagiarize myself?’ is a resounding yes! Don’t do it.

Is Using Your Own Work Plagiarism if You’ve Been Published?

Can you plagiarize yourself in college as a student who has been published? What about your graduate research? Once again, the answer here is yes. If you have been published and choose to use your own work, you must cite your sources. We will leave it to you to determine whether you should use yourself as a research source.  However, if you do and do not properly quote and cite, you are turning in plagiarized work. So, give yourself some credit!

Plagiarism at Work is Also a Problem

Business professionals also need to be concerned with committing plagiarism of their own work. For example, let’s say that you have created some marketing copy for an employer. If you leave that job and go to another employer, you cannot simply reuse that copy. There are intellectual property issues and likely non-compete issues that can cause you trouble. 

Plagiarism of your own work in the corporate setting can cause you real problems. If you do not have proper permission to use work you have written for an employer or client they can, in effect, say someone plagiarized my work. This is because even if you created the work, they own it. Running afoul of these kinds of agreements can get you sued. If not, you will at least bear some damage to your reputation.

Is it plagiarism if you copy your own work, and aren’t a student? If you decide to do this, be sure that you have retained complete ownership of the writing. Another option is to ask for and receive permission to use it. This approach will work more often than you realize.

Avoiding Plagiarizing Your Own Work

Now that we have answered the question, ‘Is using my own work plagiarism?’, let’s talk about how to avoid this situation altogether.

  • Never Reuse Your Own Papers Rewrite Them And Make Them New And Better

  • Cite All of Your Sources Even When That Source is You

  • Don’t Assume That You Own Anything You Created For Someone Else

  • Ask permission when you are in doubt. This is not a situation where you should ask for approval after the fact.

What Are The Consequences of Failing to Credit Your Own Work

This can vary. If you are a student your instructor may have a hard-line policy on this. You will be treated as any other student who is caught cheating. Others may simply penalize you some points, or ask you to correct your citation. In any case, this is an embarrassing mistake to make. You should avoid it at all costs.


Remember that if you need writing help, we can help connect you with a writing service that understands all the rules related to plagiarism. If you have written something you want to incorporate in an academic paper, they will know exactly how to handle that situation. You just have to link to or upload your original document. You should also mention that you are the author or one of the authors of the written work in question.

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