The challenge in partial overlap images

Overlapping Subimages Can Happen Everywhere – Don’t Let It Be in Your Publication!

Here are 6 different sub-images. Can you spot where are the overlaps?

Pre-scanned microscopy scientific sub-image by Proofig's software for scientific image manipulations & duplications detections

Overlapping microscopy images are a common image integrity issue in the life sciences publications. But why does it even happen?

Whether you are currently a senior editor, principal investigator, or a research student – you have probably experienced the endless hours of sitting behind the microscope, trying to capture the results of your latest experiment.

These captures will later become the published article’s figures – but could you tell if some of the captures were overlapping?


Microscopy images overlap usually happen as an honest mistake: working in different size scales, losing orientation and mixing up the microscope capture’s file names, can all lead to wrongly publishing two different microscopy subimages that partially overlap.


However, it can also be an unethical way of creating false results sometimes.


Nevertheless, as an editor or a PI, you would like to prevent it from being published and take the appropriate actions: for example, as a PI it might help you learn how it happened and explain to your lab team how to avoid future mistakes.


Detecting overlaps might be hard – even impossible sometimes. It requires the human eye to make multiplied comparisons, which most of us are not capable of doing.


Check yourself: were you able to detect the overlapping areas?

Beneath the page, you can find the answers, provided by the automated Proofig analysis.

Proofig results: Proofig compared instantly all the sub-images, and detected different sorts of manipulations & duplications, including overlapping.

Minimized microscopy research paper's image scanned by Proofig for manipulations & duplications detections - First Example
Proofig's software microscopy image scanning results of scientific image manipulations & duplications detections  - First Example
Minimized microscopy scientific image scanned by Proofig for plagiarism detections - Second Example
Proofig's software scientific sub-image analyzing results for research paper's image plagiarism detections  - Second Example
Minimized microscopy scientific sub-image scanned by Proofig for manipulations & duplications detections - Third Example
Proofig's software image scanning results for microscopy scientific image manipulations & duplications detections  - Third Example

Legend: Proofig flagging found 3 overlap duplications (marked with a red square). The blue lines represent the position of similar features within the images: lines intersection indicates that there was a rotation of the images. Images no. 1 & 2 are rotated in 180º, and no. 3 is rotated in 90º.

You can learn more about Proofig here