Friday, March 23, 2007

Photoshop Manipulation of Scientific Illustrations

Stem Cells at BigU, the Continuing Saga

The Scientific American web site has an interesting article concerning rampant Photoshop treatment of scientific illustrations in publications:

March 23, 2007

Journals' Spot-Checking of Images for Photoshop Manipulation Comes Too Late To Stop Latest Stem Cell Fraud

As New Scientist reported in a commendable bit of enterprise journalism, images from a paper in Nature (vol 418, p 41) on a supposed new and groundbreaking type of adult stem cell appear to have been duplicated "in a second paper that was published at about the same time, where they were supposed to relate to a different experiment." But it gets worse:

Now New Scientist has examined a US patent (number 7015037) [Inventors: Reyes, Verfaillie, Furcht ] granted in 2006...

Within the patent are three images that appear to be duplicated from another paper from Verfaillie's group [Authors: Reyes, Lund, Lenvik, Aguiar, Koodie, Verfaillie], published in 2001 in the journal Blood (vol 98, pp 2615-2625)...

The problem is that in each case the duplicated image is used in the patent to describe the production of a different protein from that described in the Blood paper.

New Scientist also has a great infographic showing each of the original images that were allegedly duplicated--and you don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see how they might be construed as a rather sloppy fraud. [The infographic link doesn't always work, so I've put it at the top of this post.]

Awaiting further developments, I remain, your servant,


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