Creation of a Moral Panic? Self-Plagiarism in the Academy

Jamie L. Callahan

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


As I begin my last year as Editor of Human Resource Development Review (HRDR), the issues of plagiarism and “self-plagiarism” have been weighing on my mind. We have had several (potential) cases of both while I have been part of the editorial team at the journal, and editors must make difficult ethical choices about how to approach such instances. I am hopeful that, in my tenure as Editor, the HRDR editorial team has handled our incidents with a developmental focus befitting our field while still ensuring that all parties are fully aware of the negative consequences of academic fraud and that all incidents of plagiarism were halted prior to publication.

More and more publications are appearing about issues of self-plagiarism, and much debate has ensued about the “scourge of self-plagiarism” (Green, 2005). In 2005, Green noted that a Google search of the keyword “self-plagiarism” resulted in 8,000 hits; in 2010, Brown-Syed found 38,000 hits; and in 2013, I conducted the same Google search and found 82,500 hits. This exponential increase in dialogue about an issue infrequently appearing in the annals of our field warranted some exploration; in particular, to what extent might the label of self-plagiarism constitute a moral panic generated by those who stand to gain from identifying such an infraction? Thus, in this editorial, I hope to raise awareness of what is being called self-plagiarism and to problematize the concept and its implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Resource Development Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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