A working group appointed by the Worldwide Association of Scientific, Technological and Health care Publishers (STM) has printed a new established of guidelines to deal with the issue of doctored pictures in scientific investigate papers.
The suggestions of the Specifications and Technology Committee (STEC) contain a 3-tier classification procedure that editors can use to flag suspicious material, and specific move-by-step recommendations on how to deal with manipulated photographs.
STM said the recommendations supply “a structured solution that supports editors and some others implementing image integrity screening as aspect of pre-publication excellent control checks or publish-publication investigation of picture and data integrity issues at scholarly journals, guides, preprint servers, or information repositories.”
Photos that tumble under tier a single of the classification procedure include pictures that have been “beautified” or altered in a way that does not alter the summary of the research. Photos that have been appreciably manipulated in a way that clashes with acknowledged scholarly follow and alter the scientific conclusions for crucial data are designated tier two.
Tier three, reserved for the most critical aberrations, involves “severe image manipulation, with unequivocal proof of obfuscation or fabrication and an intent to mislead,” these types of as the selective cropping or reporting of visuals so that they fail to signify the primary info.
Editors who suspect an image has been doctored are advised to check with authors for their resource knowledge and an rationalization. If an editor receives no reaction to a question above a tier 3 offense and later sees the suspicious visuals posted in yet another journal, the direction suggests the editor need to notify that journal of their suspicions.
“With these recommendations, the STM Functioning Group aims to contribute a constant, structured and successful framework for dealing with image integrity issues both equally within just and involving journals and publishers,” said STM.
Elisabeth Bik, a investigate-integrity expert centered in California, said that the new suggestions “will not avert science misconduct, but they give much better scrutiny the two at the submission phase, as properly as following publication.”
STEC’s suggestions are open up for comments until October 31, 2021. Last recommendations will be offered at the STM Improvements Seminar on December 7, 2021.
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