Self-plagiarism and textual recycling: legitimate forms of research misconduct

Account Res. 2014;21(3):176-97. doi: 10.1080/08989621.2014.848071.


The concept of self-plagiarism frequently elicits skepticism and generates confusion in the research ethics literature, and the ethical status of what is often called "textual recycling" is particularly controversial. I argue that, in general, self-plagiarism is unethical because it is deceptive and dishonest. I then distinguish several forms of it and argue against various common rationalizations for textual recycling. I conclude with a discussion of two instances of textual recycling, distinguishing them in terms of their ethical seriousness but concluding that both are ethically problematic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Biomedical Research / methods
  • Deception
  • Ethics, Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plagiarism*
  • Publications / ethics*
  • Scientific Misconduct / ethics*
  • United States