A few publishers are using automated software to catch flaws in submitted papers.
Just before a study appears in any of ten journals published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), it undergoes an unusual extra check. Since January 2021, the AACR has been using artificial intelligence (AI) software on all manuscripts it has provisionally accepted after peer review. The aim is to automatically alert editors to duplicated images, including those in which parts have been rotated, filtered, flipped or stretched.
For those people with strong views on AI (that is Artificial Intelligence for the folk with a horticultural background) will either be excited or horrified by the news some journals are using AI to detect duplicated images in papers. Gary’s household has the three possible attitudes on AI (Gary: Is excited by the potential of people collaborating with smart systems. Renay: Is horrified by images conjured by popular fiction. Connar: Believes that we are along way away from genuine general AI). Given who is writing this commentary, let us just say it is fantastic to see human editors using smart tools to spot when cheats try to use images copied from elsewhere.
The AACR tried numerous software products before it settled on a service from Proofig, a firm in Rehovot, Israel, says Daniel Evanko, director of journal operations at the association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “We’re very happy with it,” he adds. He hopes the screening will aid researchers and reduce problems after publication.