What is text recycling?

By Serge Horbach, doctoral student at the Institute for Science in Society, Radboud University, and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University

Academic text recycling is the reuse of one’s own writing in new academic publications without reference. This can range from reusing a single sentence to reusing several pages, or even entire articles. In the latter case, scholars commonly refer to ‘duplication’.

In addition to the term text recycling, researchers and policy makers alike also commonly use the term ‘self-plagiarism’. However, we prefer the term text recycling, because of the difficulties with the term ‘self-plagiarism’, as stealing from oneself is a legal oxymoron (Callahan, 2014; Chrousos, Kalantaridou, Margioris, & Gravanis, 2012; Thurman, Chervenak, McCullough, Halwani, & Farine, 2016).

Other terms, such as ‘(unacceptable) text recycling’ (Moskovitz, 2016) or ‘(unacceptable) duplication’ (Thurman et al., 2016), have been proposed.