Images in scientific papers are used to support the experimental description and the discussion of the findings since several centuries. In the field of biomedical sciences, in particular, the use of images to depict laboratory results is widely diffused, at such a level that one would not err in saying that there is barely any experimental paper devoid of images to document the attained results. With the advent of software for digital image manipulation, however, even photographic reproductions of experimental results may be easily altered by researchers, leading to an increasingly high rate of scientific papers containing unreliable images. In this paper I introduce a software pipeline to detect some of the most diffuse misbehaviours, running two independent tests on a random set of papers and on the full publishing record of a single journal. The results obtained by these two tests support the feasibility of the software approach and imply an alarming level of image manipulation in the published record.
Cell Death & Disease – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 14, 2018
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