Scientific journals' status as bastions of objectivity and truth has come under fire in the past 10 years because of "image fraud," the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Researchers alter representations of scientific data for inclusion in journal articles for various reasons, and not all have evil intentions. One admitted doctorer said she “was trying to present” the data “even better.”
An agency concerned with truth and accuracy in government-funded research reports that 10 years ago, 6% of its cases were related to image fraud. Today, the proportion is closer to half. And journals aren’t sitting idle; some have instituted automated software detection systems designed to root out doctored images that, though born of benign intentions, could derail important research.