StATS: Fraudulent images in research (July 12, 2006)

Fraud in research is a big problem. One issue that has come up recently is that graphical images can be "Photoshopped" to present the image in a way that does not truly represent how the original research was done. Photoshop is a very useful program that can enhance images, but it must be used very carefully and with very limited objectives  There are some recently published guidelines that are worth keeping in mind.

In particular, you can't use Photoshop to delete a band from a blot or gel, even if you believe that band is an artefact. You can't artificially add duplicate lanes to a blot by using the clone tool. If you use the contrast and brightness controls to improve the quality of the image, be sure that your efforts to clean up the image you don't artificially enhance or remove important features.


This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Ethics in research.