||© 2019 The Author(s).Learned Publishing © 2019 ALPSP. Over the past decade, text recycling
(TR; AKA ‘self-plagiarism’) has become a visible and somewhat contentious practice,
particularly in the realm of journal articles. While growing numbers of publishers
are writing editorials and formulating guidelines on TR, little is known about how
editors view the practice or how they respond to it. We present results from an interview-based
study of 21 North American journal editors from a broad range of academic disciplines.
Our findings show that editors' beliefs and practices are quite individualized rather
than being tied to disciplinary or other structural parameters. While none of our
participants supported the use of large amounts of recycled material from one journal
article to another, some editors were staunchly against any use of recycled material,
while others were accepting of the practice in certain circumstances. Issues of originality,
the challenges of rewriting text, the varied circulation of texts, and abiding by
copyright law were prominent themes as editors discussed their approaches to TR. Overall,
the interviews showed that many editors have not thought systematically about the
practice of TR, and they sometimes have trouble aligning their beliefs and practices.