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Documenting Clinical and Laboratory Images in PublicationsDocumenting Biomedical Images in Publications: The CLIP Principles

Thomas A. Lang, MA; Cassandra Talerico, PhD; George C. M. Siontis, MD
Author and Funding Information

From Tom Lang Communications and Training International (Mr Lang), Kirkland, WA; Neurological Institute Research and Development (Dr Talerico), Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH; and Clinical Trials and Evidence-Based Medicine Unit (Dr Siontis), Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece.

Correspondence to: Thomas A. Lang, MA, Tom Lang Communications and Training International, 10003 NE 115th Lane, Kirkland, WA 98033; e-mail: tomlangcom@aol.com


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(6):1626-1632. doi:10.1378/chest.11-1800
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In scientific publications, laboratory and clinical images are part of the evidence on which authors base the interpretation and conclusions of their research. However, variability in biology, image acquisition and quality, standards for interpretation, training and experience of evaluators, and presence of artifacts can markedly reduce interrater and intrarater reliability. This variability in interpretation suggests that authors should support their claims with complete information about the image on which those claims are based. Yet, without appropriate guidelines, the documentation of these published images almost certainly will be incomplete and inconsistent. Here, we propose six principles for documenting clinical and laboratory images in publications: the clinical and laboratory images in publications (CLIP) principles. The principles were inspired by the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) and related initiatives that are intended to improve the documentation of research through the use of guidelines. However, the CLIP principles are not formal guidelines, standards, or requirements but, rather, reminders about the information that may be needed to support interpretations and conclusions based on images. These principles organize the self-evident factors related to the nature, acquisition, reporting, and presentation of clinical and laboratory images. As imaging technologies become more complex, however, so too does the specific information needed to document how specific types of images are acquired. Thus, in addition to general direction for all authors, the CLIP principles give journals and professional societies a foundation, a direction, and some models to assist them in developing technology-specific guidelines for reporting the images common in their area of practice.

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