Image Tampering in Scientific Literature

written by Babak on December 11, 2012 in Blog with no comments

Today, we face the problem of digital image forgeries even in scientific literature. For instance, the Journal of Cell Biology, a premier academic journal, estimates that around twenty five (25) percent of manuscripts accepted for publication contain at least one image that has been inappropriately manipulated. In many cases, the author is only trying to clean the background and the changes do not affect the scientific meaning of the results. However, the journal also estimates that roughly one (1) percent of figures are simply fraudulent.

One of the most famous cases of digital image forgeries in a scientific area was in 2004 when a team lead by the South Korean scientist Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk published their results in stem cell research in the journal Science.Their results showed the successful cloning of stem cells. This offered hope for new cures for diseases. Later, in 2005, one of the co- authors admitted that photographs in the paper had been tampered with. This resulted in, among other things, the resignation of Dr. Hwang from his position at Seoul National University.