A volunteer and collaborative effort to bring information about shared microscopy facilities to the University of Arizona and the community.

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:

Due to COVID-19 the workshop has not been held since Jan 2020. We are working with the UA Office for the Responsible Conduct of Research to move the workshop presentations to a recorded format within the University's EDGE Learning platform. This would make the content available year-round. We will announce when that becomes available.

To Register:

See the COVID-19 note above.

Responsible Conduct of Research - training credit:

This workshop counts as one elective credit 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, RII 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, RII/ARL, UACC)

Benjamin Cromey, Ph.D., UA Alumni - College of Optical Sciences
Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO


Workshop Schedule
8:30 AM What is a Digital Image? Dr. Brooke Massani
9:15 AM Presenting and Viewing Digital Images Dr. 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
Want to learn more?

Visit our Additional Resources page for links to online information that will refresh what you learned and perhaps answer some additional questions.


The workshop was first given August 2007. The workshop occurred at least once a year until Jan 2020, we were invited to give it twice at ASU and once at the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix. We typically scheduled 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 retired.