Elisabeth Bik: I scanned thousands of research images by eye to expose academic fraud

Science consultant Elisabeth Bik is on a mission to detect duplicate images in scientific papers, exposing either genuine mistakes or signs of fraud.


19 February 2020
, updated 2 December 2021

eye through magnifying glass

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Microbiologist Elisabeth Bik has spent years searching for duplicated and manipulated images within scientific papers, scouring for clues as to whether they are genuine errors or deliberate attempts to mislead. Despite online harassment, ranging from intimidation and threats of violence to legal action, her dedication to hunting out scientific fraud has seen her awarded the John Maddox Prize for standing up for science.

In this interview from February 2020, she discusses how she started, why she seeks out image manipulation and duplication, and who her heroes in science are.

So, what do you do?

I scan the biomedical literature for …