#9. Safe-keeping the original data
This post is part of a weekly series about image screening. All published posts can be found on this page.
As you now know, Rockefeller University Press journals (JGP, JCB and JEM) conduct routine figure checks on all editorially accepted manuscripts. We check for figure and image quality (or “resolution”) as well as various alterations, such as contrast adjustment or manipulation of image elements.
Resolution issue? Easy: these are most often quickly corrected by properly inserting an image file into a figure or by re-exporting it to a loss-less file type that properly stores and displays the high level of detail of the image.
What if the issue is more complicated? In those rare cases, the most direct and easiest way to define whether the image or figure quality could be acceptable or whether a manipulation falls within what we allow is to go back to the original image data and to determine whether any information was lost by the adjustments made to the image.
We cannot stress enough the importance of properly storing, organizing, and making accessible primary research data as first acquired. It’s crucial to be able to return to the original results to back-up the research or to further an analysis, as highlighted by the many recent discussions over research reproducibility. And it is our policy that the primary data must be made available to the editors upon request at any point in the editorial process.
Please feel free to reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions, we are happy to discuss our policy and/or case-by-case scenarios anytime.