According to the National Library of Medicine, in fiscal year 2015 there were nearly 700 papers retracted (a 37% increase) and the numbers of errata increased as well (over 12,000, a 30% increase) (1, 2). A 2016 paper published in mBio visually screened over 20,000 publications looking for image manipulation issues, the authors found that "Overall, 3.8% of published papers contained problematic figures, with at least half exhibiting features suggestive of deliberate manipulation." (3). Inappropriate image manipulation practices have been found in papers from a wide variety of fields, not just biomedical research.

About the Workshop:

The primary goal of this workshop is to show that images are data, to illustrate what can be done with those data, and the ease with which they can be compromised. Presentations will include what constitutes a digital image, what goes into acquiring good images, as well as jargon and concepts associated with digital images. These include such topics as pixels, resolution, over-saturation, color space, image format, bit depth, and image processing filters. While the use of digital images is common in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, the majority of examples will come from the world of microscopy. Options and formats for presentation of images will also be presented, as will a discussion of the ethical (and not so ethical) use of digital images. It should be noted that this is NOT a workshop on image analysis, microscope techniques, or a Photoshop tutorial.

Date, Time & Location:

The 2018 workshop was held in the Kuiper Space Sciences building, room 308 on Thursday August 16, 2018 from 8:30am to 1pm.

To Register:

We will re-open the registration in preparation for the planned August 2019 workshop in June or early July of 2019.

Responsible Conduct of Research - training credit:

This workshop counts as one elective course towards the NIH and NSF Responsible Conduct of Research Certifications. In order to receive this credit, please register for the relevant RCR certification. For more information, please visit the University’s RCR Program website.


Brooke Beam Massani, Ph.D., Associate Staff Scientist, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Manager, W.M. Keck Center for Surface and Interface Imaging (KECK); Director, RDI Imaging Cores - Marley and Life Sciences North

Douglas Cromey, M.S., Associate Scientific Investigator, Cellular & Molecular Medicine
Manager of a number of microscopy-related core facilities (SWEHSC, RDI/ARL, UACC)

Benjamin Cromey, M.S., National Science Foundation Fellow and PhD Candidate
Ultrafast Fiber Lasers and Nonlinear Optics Group, College of Optical Sciences


Workshop Schedule
8:30 AM What is a Digital Image? Dr. Brooke Massani
9:15 AM Presenting and Viewing Digital Images Mr. Benjamin Cromey
10:00 AM Break  
10:15 AM Ethics & Scientific Digital Imaging Mr. Douglas Cromey
11:05 AM Demonstrations - Manipulating Digital Images Mr. Douglas Cromey
11:45 AM Break  
12:55 PM Demonstrations - Manipulating Digital Images (part 2) Mr. Douglas Cromey

The workshop was first given August 2007. We typically schedule the workshop for right before the beginning of fall semester classes.

The workshop is endebted to these founding individuals.

  • Dr. Carl Boswell (Molecular and Cellular Biology), has retired.
  • Mr. Chip Hedgcock (Neuroscience), has retired.
  • Dr. David Elliott (Cellular and Molecular Medicine), has moved out-of-state.