1. Cell Biology
  2. Developmental Biology
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Science Forum: Imaging methods are vastly underreported in biomedical research

  1. Guillermo Marqués  Is a corresponding author
  2. Thomas Pengo
  3. Mark A Sanders
  1. University Imaging Centers and Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, United States
  2. University of Minnesota Informatics Institute , University of Minnesota, United States
Feature Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e55133 doi: 10.7554/eLife.55133
1 table and 4 additional files


Table 1
Evaluation of the reporting of imaging methods in biomedical journals.

The first column lists journal name, number of articles with images, number of articles evaluated, and the percentage of articles with images. The second column lists the percentage of figures (main and supplemental) that contain original images or quantification of imaging data. The third column lists the percentage of text in the materials and methods sections devoted to imaging (for the 185 articles that contained images). The fourth column lists the percentage of the articles containing images that pass the methods quality test (see Materials and methods for details of this test). Total developmental biology includes three journals (Dev. Biol., Development, and Dev. Cell); total immunology includes two journals (Nature Immunology and J. Immunology). * Five articles containing MRI and X-ray images were not included in the quality evaluation, so the sample for this analysis is 180 papers. Supplementary file 1 contains a list of all the articles analyzed and details for each article.

Journal (articles with imaging/total articles, percentage)Imaging figures (%)Imaging methods (%)Pass methods quality (%)
Developmental Biology (29/30, 99%)794.23.4
Development (28/28, 100%)757.014.3
Developmental Cell (32/32, 100%)694.89.4
J Cell Biology (29/30, 97%)7210.137.9
Nature Immunology (18/29, 62%)225.511.1
J Immunology (17/31, 55%)212.35.9
J Neuroscience (18/30, 60%)377.87.1
Biophysical Journal (14/30, 47%)2810.250.0
Total developmental biology
(89/90, 99%)
Total immunolgy
(35/60, 58%)
Total (185/240)526.716.7(*)

Additional files

Supplementary file 1

A list of all the articles analyzed for Table 1 and details for each article.

Supplementary file 2

Reporting guidelines for wide-field fluorescence microscopy and laser-scanning fluorescence confocal microscopy.

Supplementary file 3

Example output from MethodsJ.

Transparent reporting form

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