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Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited$
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Catelijne Coopman, Janet Vertesi, Michaeland Lynch, and Steve Woolgar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262525381

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262525381.001.0001

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In Images We Trust? Representation and Objectivity in the Digital Age

In Images We Trust? Representation and Objectivity in the Digital Age

(p.249) 12 In Images We Trust? Representation and Objectivity in the Digital Age
Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited

Emma K. Frow

The MIT Press

In recent years, editors of several high-profile science journals, including Science and Nature, have expressed concern about the ease with which image-processing software (particularly Photoshop) can be used to produce aesthetically attractive but scientifically misleading images. In response to such concerns, editors of such journals have been establishing guidelines for digital image processing that authors of manuscript submissions are required to follow. This chapter examines such guidelines and the concerns that gave rise to them in light of STS scholarship on representation in scientific practice, particularly regarding the traditional necessity to invest trust in practices of image making. The discussion in the chapter points out that recent efforts to regulate the use of ‘photoshopping’ in digital image processing explicitly direct attention to the significance of image processing, though they cannot fully articulate what counts as a trustworthy image or as trustworthy practice.

Keywords:   Scientific publishing, Image-processing guidelines, Trust, Objectivity, Ethics

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