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Certainly a 512 x 512 image is likely to be high enough resolution if you want to show the whole image in the figure, since at 300 dpi this will be 1.7 inches on the page. Or at 1 inch on the page this is 512 dpi. However, if you wish to crop and zoom a portion of the image, to show a feature at higher magnification (E.g. a centromere at 8 times the size of the parent image), then this could produce an 'inset' as low as 64 dpi (512 dpi / 8). In this case, you will be forced to increase it's resolution and if you want to maintain a non-pixelated appearance you will also have to re-sample the inset (add dots). JCB rightly instructs users not to re-sample images, but unfortunately this is not enforced in JCB or any other journals, since a non-pixelated image is considered preferable to doing the "right thing". I would prefer it if the instructions better matched what authors are actually doing to get the 'nice' figures required for publication, and include full details of the figure preparation steps. I should say that I have a particular interest in this subject since I am the developer of a figure preparation tool that does just this I'm trying to give users the tools they need (including re-sampling) without breaking the guidelines stipulated by journals.
What about microscope images, where "dpi" has no meaning? You simply acquire a 512 x 512 image, with no known print size. How do you ensure it is of sufficiently high resolution?
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Oct 13, 2015