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 2017 workshop was held in the Kuiper Space Sciences building, room 308 on Thursday August 17, 2017 from 8:30am to 1pm.

To Register:

Go to the Registration Page (closed until next year) and fill in the appropriate information. Registration is limited to the first 90 applications, so make your reservation soon. 

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 & Kuiper

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

David Elliott, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Director, College of Medicine Research Microscopy Core Service

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

The workshop was first given August 2007. We typically schedule the workshop for right before the beginning of fall semester classes. Two of our original speakers (Dr. Carl Boswell - MCB, and Mr. Chip Hedgcock - Neuroscience) have since retired from the University.