(4 Jan 2024) In recent years, the research community has become increasingly concerned with issues involving the manipulation of images in scientific papers. Some of these alterations—involving images from experimental techniques such as microscopy, flow cytometry, and western blots—are inadvertent and may not change the conclusions of papers. But in rare cases, some are done deliberately to mislead readers. Image sleuths who can detect these alterations, like the scientific integrity consultant Elisabeth Bik, have risen to prominence, as has the website PubPeer, where many of the detected flaws are posted. High-profile incidents, such as one involving the laboratory of former Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, have eroded public confidence in science and harmed careers of investigators who missed doctored images coming from their own laboratories. To address these problems, in 2024, the Science family of journals is adopting the use of Proofig, an artificial intelligence (AI)–powered image-analysis tool, to detect altered images across all six of the journals.
Find out more here.