Self-plagiarism, really?

Having been on the fringes of academia for so many years I have been able to balance theoretical knowledge and what ‘should be done’, with practical application and what ‘can be done’. Unfortunately or fortunately I’m not sure which, I had never had to explain the concept of plagiarism to a group of people that do not do a lot of academic writing. So you can imaging the looks I received when I started ‘banging on about’ self-plagiarism. This is a principle that I don’t recall being taught, but always knew was to be avoided. Now not to plagiarize ….. if you want to learn more about the topic I suggest you read Miquel Roiq MD pages.

The problem: You’ve written an abstract and submitted it to a conference. There is another conference in a very similar area/field as the first. Can you just send off the same abstract.

The answer:
NO, you can’t.

This fact was greeted with much distress. “You can’t plagiarize yourself!’ were the cry’s, “plus the deadline is in two days I don’t have time to write another one”. My response was seen to be very unfair when I told them that they can’t submit anything then.

Well it’s amazing what can be done. With the deadline approaching (Midday today: 1st Feb) I was sent two abstract last night to review. They were edited and returned to their authors. This morning the confirmation of their submission has arrived and everyone was happy.

Hopefully the trials and tribulations caused this time will not be repeated, but it is something to watch out for. Happy writing