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Proofig AI for Research Institutions and Universities

The benefits of automated image integrity detection software for institutions

A captivating set of four microscopy images showcasing the intriguing phenomenon of image rotation. Each image presents microscopic specimens with a noticeable rotation, introducing a new perspective on the observed structures. The rotations observed in these images raise questions about the underlying causes and potential implications. This visual evidence emphasizes the importance of careful analysis and accurate interpretation in microscopy studies, ensuring the reliable representation of biological samples. Understanding the mechanisms and effects of image rotations in microscopy can provide valuable insights into cellular structures and processes, advancing our knowledge in the field of microscopy and biology.

Why is image integrity a problem?

Academic institutions recognize the importance of maintaining the highest standard of image integrity in their scientific publications. However, image issues, such as duplication or manipulation, remain widespread in academic publishing.

It's estimated that about one in three life sciences manuscripts submitted for publication are flagged for some kind of image-related issue. These problems are often unintentionally overlooked because issues are very difficult to spot with the naked eye. As a result, academic institutions are at risk of submitting manuscripts with image inaccuracies.

Many institutional stakeholders experience this challenge. Anyone — from presidents and deans for research and integrity, to heads of department and technology purchasing officers in libraries and resource centers — are all partners in integrity protection.

A collection of four Western blot images presenting a fascinating discovery of flipped image bands. Each image showcases protein expression patterns with an intriguing alteration—a complete horizontal flip of the bands. This unexpected phenomenon raises questions about the underlying causes and potential implications of such image manipulations. These visual findings highlight the importance of rigorous analysis and quality control in Western blot experiments, ensuring accurate interpretation and faithful representation of protein data. Understanding the impact and mechanisms behind image flipping can contribute to the advancement of Western blot techniques and improve the reliability of protein analysis in scientific research

What are the consequences?

When investigating image integrity errors, we typically find that most turn out to be honest mistakes. While unintentional, failure to identify these breaches prior to submission for publication can severely damage an institution's reputation.

If an article is published with unresolved image issues, it might be identified and highlighted by peers in the academic community, through social media or on platforms like PubPeer.

Reports of issues can lead to very costly investigations and retractions. Misconduct investigations can cost anywhere up to one million dollars. As well as the cost, retractions cause enduring damage, not just to the individual researcher/s, but to the entire institution's reputation. This can significantly impair the researcher or institution’s ability to obtain funding in the future.

How does Proofig AI benefit research institutions?

Proofig AI was created with research teams and institutions in mind. The technology arose out of a deep understanding of the need for accuracy in scientific publication and a great motivation to support institutions in showcasing their highest quality of research.

Proofig AI is the ultimate smart solution that:

  • Seamlessly integrates into a researcher’s existing pre-submission process to automate image checks

  • Identifies every subimage and flags any potential errors so that researchers and institutions can prevent the damage of their inclusion in the submitted manuscript

  • Supports the manuscript submission protocol for researchers, departments and entire institutions prior to submission, preventing the risk of mistakes and potential manuscript rejection.

Researchers and their institutions benefit from:

  • Automatic analysis of a large number of images in a manuscript, providing reports in minutes

  • Considerable time and effort savings for research teams and departments by minimizing the risk of post-publication critiques

  • All results are fully confidential — the system operates on a private, secure server

How does it work?

Proofig AI extracts images from papers and uses AI to compare each image to itself and to the rest of the images.

The tool will detect any form of image duplication or other anomalies, producing a report in minutes. It also compares each flipped image with the other images in the uploaded files.

Researchers can check their manuscript, confidentially and automatically, in three simple steps:

  1. Upload the PDF manuscript and submit it for sub-image detection. The system leverages AI to analyze the manuscript and mark all sub-images within the figures.

  2. Check the detected sub-images and validate the results, then submit the manuscript for integrity detection.

  3.  Review any suspected issues flagged by Proofig AI and add only relevant findings to the final report. The system processes the selections and produces a report in minutes. The report includes both a page view of the suspected issue and a detailed view of each confirmed issue.

Proofig AI is trusted by leading publishers, research institutes, and researchers

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“Image integrity issues in the scientific literature are more prevalent than many readers would expect, and notably so in the life sciences. In recent years, an increasing number of scientific journals have adopted pre-publication image screening. Expertise in this area has developed, whilst the need for reliable and user-friendly automated tools to screen large volumes of image data at scale has grown accordingly.  

I have found Proofig to be impressively strong in detecting duplications and part-duplications in Western blots and microscopy images. It works fairly quickly and reliably across several figures, whilst being robust to rotation, flipping, resizing, and colour changes. The makers recently also added Flow Cytometry plots to their catalogue of screen-able image types.


The system automatically generates a report summarizing individual, selectable findings in a clear manner, and users can also re-visit previously screened items in their own database. Whilst it remains essential for an experienced user to verify and interpret individual findings, I believe Proofig is a very valuable tool for duplication detection, and suited to effectively assist journals’ image integrity screening routines”.

Jana Christopher

Image Data Integrity Analyst


Hear what renowned editors and scientists are saying about Proofig:

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