16 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2017 Last revised: 27 Jan 2019
Date Written: February 17, 2017
The Harvard Law Review invited me contribute to its annual Supreme Court issue, with a comment concerning two cases I had previously written about. I did what I suspect most other scholars would do: preface my new analysis with earlier writings. The Review objected. Thus began my crash course with a concept I had never before considered: “self-plagiarism.”
This essay analyzes the ethical, legal, and professional implications of copying from one’s prior work, including “recycled text,” “reporting,” and “arguments.” Legal scholarship has largely ignored this important issue, which has been developed by other disciplines.
While I am sympathetic to journalistic concerns about originality, Professors who build up a body of work over time should not be expected to completely reinvent every wheel for each new published article. At bottom, there truly is nothing new under the sun.
Keywords: Self-Plagiarism, Ethics, Publishing
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