To prevent embarrassment for both parties, academic publishers like AACR have turned to AI software to detect image duplication before a paper is published in a journal. The AACR started trialling Proofig, an image-checking programme developed by a startup going by the same name as their product based in Israel. Evanko presented results from the pilot study to show how Proofig impacted AACR’s operations at the International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication conference held in Chicago this week. AACR publishes ten research journals and reviews over 13,000 submissions every year. From January 2021 to May 2022, officials used Proofig to screen 1,367 manuscripts that had been provisionally accepted for publication and contacted authors in 208 cases after reviewing image duplicates flagged by the software. In most cases, the duplication is a sloppy error that can be fixed easily. Scientists may have accidentally got their results mixed up and the issue is often resolved by resubmitting new data. On rare occasions, however, the dodgy images highlighted by the software are a sign of foul play.
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