Text recycling is the reuse of textual material when the source (old) and destination (new) documents share at least one author, and the recycled text does not appear as a direct quote.
This policy addresses the ethical norms and professional acceptability of text recycling. The legality of text recycling depends upon both publishing contracts and copyright law; authors who want information about the legality of text recycling should consult the TRRP Best Practices for Researchers. A more detailed discussion of types of recycling, illustrative examples, and a brief review of ethical considerations can be found in the TRRP document Understanding Text Recycling: A Guide for Researchers.
This policy endorses text recycling when used in ways that promote clarity of communication while maintaining a high ethical standard.
If the corresponding authors of the source and destination documents are different, the corresponding author of the new document should contact the corresponding author of the source document for permission to recycle from it. The corresponding author of the source document is strongly encouraged to get permission from coauthors (as appropriate) prior to granting permission to recycle. In cases where the source text was produced as work for hire and the employer holds the copyright, corresponding authors should obtain permission from that employer.
Authors should disclose text recycling during the submission process in the cover letter—describing where that material occurs in the new manuscript, whether the recycling includes the source’s core content, and providing citations (with links to published sources when possible) to the source documents. Editors will work with authors to make readers aware of recycling as appropriate per journal policy.
TR POLICIES ACCORDING TO TYPE OF RECYCLING
Authors may recycle without restriction from their own “works-in-progress”—such as conference posters, conference slides, grant proposals, and IRB protocols—whether publicly available or not.
Authors may recycle their previously published textual material in a new work that makes a substantive and original intellectual contribution within these limits:
Descriptions of methodology (whether in a Methods/Materials section or elsewhere) may be recycled as needed but should be reviewed to ensure they are accurate and appropriate for the new manuscript.
Introduction and background sections may contain some recycled material, but this material should constitute only a small proportion of such sections.
For all other materials, generative recycling should be very rare and limited to technical language that would be difficult to express clearly in other words.
Authors who believe that recycling beyond these limits would be appropriate for their manuscript should consult with the editor rather than rewording those materials to avoid text recycling.
See Journal-Specific Policies below.
Duplicate publication (publishing a work that is the same in genre, content, and intended audience as a previously published source document) is not permitted and may be considered academic misconduct.
DISSERTATIONS & THESES
Authors may recycle without limit from their own dissertation or thesis produced as a requirement for a degree as long as (1) the recycled material has not been previously published (beyond the repository of the degree-granting institution) and (2) the author holds the copyrights.
Journals differ as to whether they permit certain kinds of recycling. Authors should consult journal websites or editors for details regarding:
Adaptive publications (submissions that repurpose a previous publication with the same core content for a new readership or context, such as translations or adapting a research article for a non-expert audience)
About this document
Version: V.1, 2022
Organizations who wish to reproduce this policy in its original or adapted form are free to do so. Attribution to this document is appreciated but not required.
- If you use these policies without modification: Hall, S., Moskovitz, C., and Pemberton, M. 2022. TRRP Policy for Text Recycling. Text Recycling Research Project. Online at textrecycling.org.
- If you use these policies with modifications: This work, “[your title here]” is a derivative of Hall, S., Moskovitz, C., and Pemberton, M. 2022. TRRP Policy for Text Recycling. Text Recycling Research Project. Online at textrecycling.org.
These policies were developed with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation (SES-1737093).