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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title Image Manipulation
Long Title Image Manipulation
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided A number of fairly recent articles appearing in Nature and other journals over the last few years have worried about the possibility of investigators’ manipulating images for publication. For example, in a 2006 on-line issue of Nature (at www.nature.com/nature/peerreview/debate/nature04996.html)

Dale Benos noted that:
[D]igital image-processing programs make it a simple matter to prettify ugly gels. Unwanted background, smudges and ‘non-specific’ bands can be easily removed from the final figure. I have always thought that showing only a single band of interest in a figure such as a western blot or immunoprecipitation experiment is a somewhat equivocal practice, although I admit I have done it…If images are manipulated to enhance what we aim to demonstrate, even if our intentions are good, we chip away at the integrity of the scientific enterprise and erase the trust that the public places in our work.

So, are there any rules of thumb that investigators might use to distinguish allowable from unallowable uses of image manipulation? Or should only raw images be submitted to journal editors?
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics
Ethical values behind the scientific standards for data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership,
Variations in lab practices—legitimate and illegitimate variations,
Data reporting
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics No mentor and trainee responsibilities topics
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics
Factors that contribute to scientific misconduct,
Other serious deviations from scientific best practices
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects No human subjects

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword

Other RCR Keywords Journal Editors; Journals; Manipulating Images; Nature; Non-specific Bands; Raw Images; Smudges; Unwanted Background
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.
References Cromey, DW. (2007) http://swehsc.pharmacy.arizona.edu/exppath/micro/digimage_ethics.php

Topic revision: r2 - 28 Oct 2011 - 10:49:44 - MaryBanach
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