Text Recycling vs. Self-Plagiarism

Image of Robert Sternberg’s Article “WICS: A New Model for School Psychology”

Areas highlighted in green and yellow are recycled from of Sternberg’s other works. (Brown, 2018)

Source: Nick Brown’s Blog (website)

URL: http://steamtraen.blogspot.com/2018/04/some-instances-of-apparent-duplicate.html (Accessed September 13, 2018)

Article published in School Psychology International, 2010

Sage Journals



Cornell University professor and former editor of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, Robert Sternberg, has been accused of self-plagiarism and an unusually high number of self-citations (150 during his editorship). Earlier in 2018 researchers, prompted a petition to the Association for Psychological Science.


Graduate student Brendan O’Connor opened the public discussion on Twitter. Nick Brown compiled his own findings and those of O’Connor in a blogpost at the end of April 2018. One of the most alarming examples was an article written by Sternberg that was comprised of 95% of two of his own works without referencing either one.


Recycling one’s own text could theoretically be a breach of copyright if authors have surrendered the copyright of their published articles. Some self-plagiarism is almost inevitable, but it becomes problematic when taken to extremes.




Brown, Nick. “Some Instances of Apparent Duplicate Publication by Dr. Robert J. Sternberg.” Nick Brown’s blog, April 25, 2018. http://steamtraen.blogspot.com/2018/04/some-instances-of-apparent-duplicate.html.


Flaherty, Colleen. “Revolt over an Editor.” Inside Higher Ed, April 30, 2018. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/04/30/prominent-psychologist-resigns-journal-editor-over-allegations-over-self-citation.


McCook, Alison. “A New ‛Data Thug’ Is Born.” Retraction Watch, May 02, 2018. https://retractionwatch.com/2018/05/02/a-new-data-thug-is-born/.


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