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The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)

Guideline 13

Providing public access to research results

As a rule, researchers make all results available as part of scientific/academic discourse. In specific cases, however, there may be reasons not to make results publicly available (in the narrower sense of publication, but also in a broader sense through other communication channels); this decision must not depend on third parties. Researchers decide autonomously – with due regard for the conventions of the relevant subject area – whether, how and where to disseminate their results. If it has been decided to make results available in the public domain, researchers describe them clearly and in full. Where possible and reasonable, this includes making the research data, materials and information on which the results are based, as well as the methods and software used, available and fully explaining the work processes. Software programmed by researchers themselves is made publicly available along with the source code. Researchers provide full and correct information about their own preliminary work and that of others.


In the interest of transparency and to enable research to be referred to and reused by others, whenever possible researchers make the research data and principal materials on which a publication is based available in recognised archives and repositories in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Restrictions may apply to public availability in the case of patent applications. If self-developed research software is to be made available to third parties, an appropriate licence is provided.

In line with the principle of “quality over quantity”, researchers avoid splitting research into inappropriately small publications. They limit the repetition of content from publications of which they were (co-)authors to that which is necessary to enable the reader to understand the context. They cite results previously made publicly available unless, in exceptional cases, this is deemed unnecessary by the general conventions of the discipline.

Referencing one’s own preliminary work (“self-plagiarism” or “text recycling”)

According to Guideline 13, researchers should provide complete and correct references to their own and others’ preliminary work. Furthermore, Guideline 1 calls for strict honesty with regard to one’s own contributions and those of third parties.

If preliminary work is incorporated that was produced at least to some extent by a third party without appropriate reference, the reader is deceived as to the actual authorship of the intellectual content. In order to ensure the functioning of scientific discourse, readers have a protectable interest in the person identifiable from the text as the author being the person who is originally responsible for writing it. Any deviation from this can potentially constitute a case of scientific misconduct and is regularly sanctioned, e.g. as plagiarism. 

According to Guideline 13, it is furthermore contrary to good research practice to recycle preliminary work that is (solely) one’s own without providing complete and correct references. Such insufficiently referenced re-use is known as “self-plagiarism” or also as “text recycling”.

The term “self-plagiarism refers to a relevant aspect of good research practice. Plagiarism and “self-plagiarism” have in common that they involve the failure to appropriately disclose the origin or source of a text or text excerpt, for example. The difference between the two has to do with the specific nature of the deceit: in the case of “self-plagiarism”, it concerns the novelty (or uniqueness) of the published material; in typical cases of plagiarism, it concerns the authorship of the output in question. Recycling one’s own texts may, for example, constitute a dishonest attempt to inflate one’s own publication list or give a false appearance of originality. Possible consequences include individual researchers gaining unfair advantages in competition with others or inflating the research literature in a way that hinders scientific discourse.

When re-using their own texts, researchers must provide reference to previous publications of the relevant material and respect discipline-specific guidelines in doing so.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL13 (General)