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Form letter A4: To authors

Form letter A4: To all contactable authors regarding image integrity issues

Form letters are examples of appropriate letters for various situations. Please find below the text of Form letter A4: To all contactable authors regarding image integrity issues.

You can copy this text and adjust it to your needs. It should be sent to all authors for whom you are able to obtain an email address.

This form letter is used in the following decision trees:

6. Allegations of image duplication or manipulation


[title of article, date of publication]

Dear [author],

It has been brought to our attention/we have noticed that Figure(s) [X] in the above manuscript may have been [duplicated/manipulated inappropriately].

Include additional description of the issue if necessary, e.g., it appears that the lanes on the gel may have been spliced together.

As the editor of the journal, I must take seriously any allegation raised that if true would violate the journal’s policies (set out in our ethical statements, instructions to the author, and the like).

In such cases, it is our general policy to request the original data (unprocessed and uncropped) and an explanation of any image processing that might not be apparent from the figure. Please kindly provide these as soon as possible, and by [date]. [If the issue relates to splicing of lanes on a gel add this text: It is our expectation that the figure represents the result of a single experiment so that each lane can be compared to the others. In your explanation, please confirm whether this is the case.]

Please provide me a prompt and full response within … days. [Include if an external party raised the concern: I will also [discuss/share] your response with the party raising this concern.] [Include if the paper is not published: Until we have heard from, you we cannot proceed further with the review/publication of your paper.]

[Depending on the nature of your response,] I should also inform you that I [may/also] consider it necessary to inform and involve the research institution at which the underlying research took place [or is alleged to have taken place], and [possibly] the funding agency that [allegedly] supported the research.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

[editor name]