The Federal Office of Research Integrity says that 44 percent of its cases between 2005 and 2006 involved image fraud. That’s up from 6 percent a decade ago.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription probably required), out of the 300 or so articles accepted each year by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, 10 to 20 may have been tampered with.
Some young researchers may not even think of image editing as being wrong, the CHE reports, considering the ease of image manipulation. However, experts contend that even changing a few pixels for clarity’s sake can alter the meaning of that image.