Last week we looked at the post processing results in a Biotin Turnover blot, trying to assess the potential for error. Check the following slide (Figure 1), to which a Gradient Mapping tool in Adobe Photoshop has been applied. There should be no crisp edges on such a blot. The absence of soft edges and any background detail of these blots indicates some manipulation, suggesting that further questions should be asked of this image, and the original presented for review.
Whether the missing background detail is considered important or affects the research outcome, manipulations such as this are usually considered inappropriate, and at the very least must be documented to allow honest peer review lest they invalidate the data and compromise the researcher, institution, and the research itself.
We include a portion of the original data-image (Figure 2), also with the Gradient Mapping tool applied. Retaining the original offers the researcher, institution and journal the opportunity to make transparency possible, correct and salvage the research.