I'm writing an academic paper on ethics in robotics. I have a previous paper that I wrote and would like to use material from it. If I use the material from this paper, that I wrote, do I need to cite myself as a source in the new paper or am I free to use my own material again without citation? These are my thoughts and ideas, not others (I realize that I would need to source others work again if I used it again).

  • What style manual are you following? The answer will depend on that. (APA? MLA?) Feb 25, 2012 at 21:13
  • I am using MLA style.
    – jmq
    Feb 25, 2012 at 21:34
  • 2
    In case you were wondering, this is done all the time by established academic writers. Does look a bit odd reality-wise, but it's a great way to establish firmly all your background sources for the reader.
    – M.A
    Feb 26, 2012 at 4:02
  • I don't suppose I often read the copyright page at the front of a novel, but in one book written by Poul Anderson there was a statement that said something like, "The quote on page <whatever> excerpted from <some other book> by Poul Anderson. Used with permission of the author, which was not difficult to obtain."
    – Jay
    Feb 21, 2013 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


You cite a source because it gives additional information that a curious reader may want to follow up on.

So: If your prior paper gives additional information (data, methods, background, conclusions, further citations, etc.) that is not in your current paper, but which may be of interest to readers, cite it.

By the way, you're not citing yourself; you're citing your paper.

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