The STM Working Group on Image Alterations and Duplications

In scholarly publishing, we encounter image alterations as well as duplications. Whatever the reason is behind the submission of altered and/or duplicated images to a journal, they should be identified early in the article evaluation process, so journals can take appropriate action prior to publication and in a best-case scenario, before peer review. Opposite to text plagiarism, which usually results in the violation of the research process, image alteration and/or duplication can be much more damaging, as it corrupts actual research results, wastes research money on invalid leads, undermines society’s trust in research, and can even endanger the society in which those “results” are used.

STM has appointed a working group to answer questions around automatic image alteration and/or duplication detection. It addresses topics like the minimal requirements for such tools, the current quality of them, how their quality can be measured, and how these tools can be widely, consistently, and effectively applied by scholarly publishers. It also looks at a standard classification of types and severity of image-related issues and proposes guidelines on what types of image alteration is allowable under what conditions. The working group currently operates as part of the STM Integrity Hub initiative.

Visit our Image Alterations & Duplications Resource Center to access instructional videos, recommendations and tools. 

For more information, contact Joris van Rossum at

The members of the working group:

  • Jana Christopher, FEBS (Chair)
  • Bernd Pulverer, EMBO
  • Christina Bennett, American Chemical Society
  • Christopher Rickerby, EMBO
  • Eric Pesanelli, American Physiological Society
  • Greta Sharpe, Springer Nature
  • Helen Hardy, BMJ
  • Hong Zhou, Wiley
  • Jenny Crick, Canadian Science Publishing
  • Joris van Rossum, STM Solutions
  • Katherine Brown, The Company of Biologists
  • Olivia Nippe, Elsevier
  • SJ MacRae, Aries Systems
  • Simone Ragavooloo, Frontiers
  • Tim Spencer, Rockefeller University Press