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Academic Publishers Turn to AI Software to Catch Bad Research


magnifying glass held over an academic paper, illustration

AI software uses a mixture of computer vision and algorithms to extract and classify images.

Academic publishers are increasingly using AI software to automatically spot signs of data tampering in research papers.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) started trialing Proofig, an image-checking program from a startup based in Israel, to detect image duplication before a paper is published in a journal. Image duplication was the top reason papers were retracted for the AACR over 2016 to 2020, according to Daniel Evanko, the company's director of Journal Operations and Systems.

AACR publishes ten research journals and reviews over 13,000 submissions every year. From January 2021 to May 2022, AACR 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.

On rare occasions, dodgy images highlighted by the software are a sign of foul play.

From The Register
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