The Seven Stones

Lack of protocols in cell & molecular biology

by George M Church, Senior Editor Image manipulation and selective reporting of images have been recently in the focus of a healthy debate on the issue of scientific data manipulation. Of course, as editors tell us how they detect fakes (“What’s in a picture? The temptation of image manipulation”, Rossner and Yamada, JCB 2004 166:11), there is a danger that authors will be tempted to upgrade their ploys. More importantly, I think that these issues are symptomatic of a much larger problem in Cell & Molecular Biology which is the lack of protocols for getting from raw data to conclusions. 

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