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In the academic world, we are taught that plagiary is more or less the ultimate sin, yet in public health practice we are suffering from a deficit of plagiary and unwillingness to do things that were “not invented here”.1 Civil servants, on the other hand, get used to hearing their own words and phrases being uttered by ministers. It is part of the job to get them there. We shouldn’t be really too bothered in public health practice if we don’t get the credit for our own ideas, what is important is that things happen to improve the health of the population for which we have some responsibility. The very fact of securing co-ownership will mean that frequently others claim the credit. Perhaps we should take a leaf from the wise parent who rejoices in offspring when they have mastered the art of riding a bicycle when they claim to have done it themselves.