Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Catching Unethical Photo Manipulation

We've all shared a laugh as improbable images cloned together in Photoshop make their way across the Internet. The problem is that image manipulation can be used very unethically--to fudge scientific results, for example

a Boston Globe story documents how editorial staff at the Journal of Cell Biology is running all submitted photos through Photoshop to detect fraud. (The New York Times ran a rather clearer article, but it requires paid access.)

And they've discovered fraud is rampant enough that they've had to yank 14 accepted papers. In some cases, they're even notifying the institutions sponsoring the research to check into the accuracy of the researchers' findings.

After the scandal with Hwang Woo Suk and his faked stem cells, such caution is unfortunately necessary. And form a science point of view, I find it fascinating that Photoshop can not only alter images, but tell you if an image is already altered.


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