Copyright and Self-Citing
Citing your sources is an integral part of academic writing, but before you incorporate source material—be it text, images, video, or any other type of information or media—into your work, it’s important to be sure that you have the authorization to do so.
Copyright laws give creators ownership of and control over their intellectual property, which allows them to be compensated for their efforts and to determine how their creations can be used and transformed.
At the same time, the doctrine of “fair use” carves out exceptions to this rule, permitting portions of copyrighted works to be reproduced for the purposes of discussion and critique by scholars and other commentators.
DKL’s copyright guidance can help you understand the process of determining whether your use of source material qualifies as fair use. If in doubt, please consult a librarian.
What if I’m using my own previous work?
Considerations surrounding copyright and fair use do apply to the reuse of your own previously published work. NPS also has more general instructions about reusing work to fulfill course requirements:
- Double submission of coursework: The NPS Honor Code (section 3.f.) indicates that students who wish to use pre-existing work to fulfill the requirements of a course—including submitting the same paper in more than one course—must obtain permission from the instructors.
- Citation of one’s own published work: Our NPS-specific handout on self-plagiarism offers guidelines for self-citation and reusing self-authored publications in theses and other projects.
More Information on Copyright and Fair Use