Image Integrity Assessment


Why Image Integrity needs Assessment

Most cases of inappropriate image manipulation are unintentional and rather due to a lack of an in depth knowledge of the image processing software used. A related study showed that around 20-25% of accepted papers contain at least one inappropriately modified image [1]. This is where guidelines and specific training of scientists will bring strong improvements. Nevertheless, quality assurance is also important regarding these data alterations [2-9].

Unfortunately, there are also cases of image manipulations on purpose which are hard to prevent in a landscape of publication pressure and impact factors. Investigations carried out by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) constantly show that misconduct due to image data manipulation and fabrication is not only an isolated case. Those data manipulation of any nature will latest be detected when turning out not to be reproducible [2] but detection prior to publication would be better for all instances involved.

Fact is, that many scientific journals neither have the capacities, nor the time and in-depth image processing expertise to screen all submissions for inappropriate image editing or image fabrication on a regular bases.

Data alterations in general and image manipulation in particular need assessment to…

  • ensure publication of high quality and least biased results!
  • maintain public trust and credability in science!
  • responsibly and sustainably use public funding resources!
  • avoid affecting new research by hypotheses based on altered data!
  • preserve the reputation of research institutions and journals!


Ever thought about contracting a specialist to ensure data integrity in your institute or journal?


How BioVoxxel addresses image integrity

Image integrity assessment

  • screening of images for signs of inappropriate image editing (“beautification”) according to official, high standard guidelines as recommended by ORI, JCB and [1-9]
  • in-depth assessment of potential image manipulation or fabrication on purpose (see examples on the right)
  • strict qualitative and quantitative evaluation 
  • detailed reports on findings.

Contact BioVoxxel for offers and pricing


Education is the best prevention against unintentional but inappropriate image manipulation. BioVoxxel communicates commonly accepted strict standards on image processing for scientific images through workshops for scientists

Consultancy and Support

development of customized tools to reduce user bias during analyses and improve reproducibility.

Click on arrows in image to cycle through images

Is this gel authentic? Can you detect any alterations?
Unaltered original gel
Automatic detection of copied parts
Copy-paste irregularities are suspicious
Would you have also found this?

The band was smudged to eliminate two bright spots

Is everything ok with this image?

unaltered original image
Automatic detection of copied nuclei
Copy-paste irregulation detection
Copy-paste irregulation detection
Would you accept this Western blot?
Unaltered original
Automatic detection of copied regions
Manipulation irregularities
Erasure trace detection

[1] Digital Images Are Data: And Should Be Treated as Such

[2] Beautification and fraud

[3] Seeing the Scientific Image

[4] Science journals crack down on image manipulation

[5] Guidelines for Best Practices in Image Processing

[6] Avoiding Twisted Pixels: Ethical Guidelines for the Appropriate Use and Manipulation of Scientific Digital Images

[7] Digital Image Ethics – University of Arizona (by Douglas Cromey)

[8] What’s in a picture? The temptation of image manipulation

[9] Manipulation and Misconduct in the Handling of Image Data