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Lee Walters

Hi Marcus, I really can't see what there is to be worried about here. It is standard practice to incorporate journal articles into monographs. Both of the books that are nearest to hand do this - Knowledge in an uncertain world, and epistemological disjunctivism - and Knowledge an its limits is mostly reworked journal articles.

Mark D. White

I agree with Lee -- make the journal article the best it can be, get permission from the journal to include in the book (which is easily done), and then note the inclusion somewhere in the front matter of the book. (Check with your book editor to make sure s/he in on board with it too.) Many books that are not wholly comprised of journals include material from one or a few article and say so in the book.


You retain the copyright. You don't have to ask the journal for permission to re-use your own material. However, you note (usually in the first footnote, or in the preface) which parts of the manuscript are based on published material.

The bigger issue is how much previously published work the book editor is willing to allow into the manuscript. Some places allow more than others. Cambridge, for example, tends to want less (for one's first monograph, generally) than, say, Oxford.

My book under review incorporates something like 5-6 published articles. However, even the chapters where I basically copy-pasted a journal article, the arguments are re-worked or deepened/expanded.

Marcus Arvan

Thanks for the helpful comments, everyone!

Elisa Freschi

I agree with Rachel's point re. the acknowledgements. As for the copyright, however, the issue is more complicated and in many (I thought "most") cases (e.g., in the case of OUP) one gives up one's copyright ---unless one has explicitly asked to change the default author's agreement--- and in this sense needs to inform the journal and ask for permission to reuse the article (a permission which is by rule granted).
As for the more general issue at stake, I guess the book chapter will anyway be different insofar as it will develop the argument within a different (i.e., wider) frame, which will make the reuse not a case of sheer plagiarism.
Last, be sure you re-read the book-chapter from the perspective of its being an article and, thus, an independent piece of writing (delete references to later parts, rethink passages which might be obvious only after chapter 1, etc.).

Mark D. White

I have to disagree respectfully with Rachel on one point -- you don't necessarily retain copyright on your journal articles, so you must check. Your publisher will be quite adamant about making sure you secure permissions for all previously published material -- I had to do this for 12-15 articles and book chapters I incorporated to one extent or another in my first monograph.

Marcus Arvan

Egad - now I'm confused again! So is copy/pasting from an article self-plagiarism, or not? Lee, Mark, and Rachel's comments suggest not, but Elisa's comments suggest that it is (Elisa: this is the very problem. If I include all the stuff from the book chapter that make the argument "right", the published article would essentially include *all* the stuff in the chapter).

Elisa and Mark: thanks for the clarification on the copyright stuff. Good to know!

Mark D. White

Regarding self-plagiarism, as long as you're upfront in the introduction or acknowledgments that "chapter x draws on material previously published in..." or even "is taken from", there's no problem. It would only be a problem, I think, if you did it on the sly without acknowledging it, or did it in a venue (such as a journal) where it is assumed that the work is original to that publication.


"Self-plagiarism" is not a thing. Plagiarism is stealing someone else's work and passing it off as your own. When a journal publishes your work it is still your work. The only issue here is respecting copyright; depending on the journal, you may have agreed not to re-use the material the journal has published without their permission (in which case you only need to get their permission).

Marcus Arvan

Mark: thanks!

B.M.: If you look around a bit on the web, you'll see that self-plagiarism (reprinting the same material in different places) generally *is* considered a form a research misconduct (see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_misconduct#Forms_of_scientific_misconduct). However, perhaps Mark's point clarifies what it is (e.g. publishing the same stuff in multiple journals) and what it is not (e.g. including previously published stuff in a book). This is really what my post was on about (viz. what constitutes *legitimate* inclusion of already-published material in a book?).

Mark D. White

Well put, Marcus: "what constitutes *legitimate* inclusion of already-published material in a book?" Some books are just hobbled-together collections of articles, while others incorporate previously published material in a new form -- both are legitimate, I think, as long as the extent of incorporation is transparent. (And proper permissions are secured, and your publisher is fine with it. ;)


I think hardly any re-using of one's own work is considered "misconduct" in our discipline (nor should it be). The example of publishing the (more or less) same paper in multiple journals would constitute misconduct, but it's hard to think of other potential cases.

Marcus Arvan

Hi B.M.: fair point! I guess I was asking because, never having written a book before, it's been a bit unclear to me where/how to draw the line, and I want to make sure I about things correctly.

Mark: thanks for clarifying!


I love this information, as I was recently told that to place a pre-published work from a journal into a monograph is no longer allowed. Now, we're in 2016, and much could have occurred since 2014. What is appropriate today? Still being able to take one's own article from a journal and/or edited collection and place it in a monograph with the disclosure that it appears/ed elsewhere? Or not?

book author

If you read most publishing contracts with decent journals (Phil Science, Synthese, SHPS, etc., in philosophy of science, for example) you will see that they explicitly say that the author retains the right to republish the paper (or parts of it) in a monograph. Indeed, I have included published works (revised) in my book. The contracts even provide instructions on how you are to acknowledge the previous publication.
Many good books in philosophy build on previously published work. My last book contained five previously published articles that constituted about 40 % of the book. Some were published in the book in a form very similar to the original publication; some were radically reworked.


Thank you all for this information. I am in the exact same situation as Marcus Avan (book contract + working on journal article at the same time), and a journalist friend suggested that republishing material from the article verbatim might be self-plagiarism. My understanding was also that this is common practise in our discipline as long as one retain the copyright and are open about it in footnotes and acknowledgements.
A few years have past (it is now 2021), but I assume that that this is still considered appropriate?

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