Reporting of thermography parameters in biology: a systematic review of thermal imaging literature

Mike Harrap, Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, Heather Whitney, Sean Rands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

3 Citations (Scopus)
210 Downloads (Pure)


Infrared thermography, where temperature measurements are made with infrared cameras, has proven to be a very useful and widely-used tool in biological science. Several thermography parameters are critical to the proper operation of thermal cameras and the accuracy of measurements, and these must usually be provided to the camera. Failure to account for these parameters may lead to less accurate measurements. Furthermore, the failure to provide information of parameter choices in reports may compromise appraisal of accuracy and replicate studies. In this review we investigate how well biologists report thermography parameters. This is done through a systematic review of biological thermography literature that included articles published between years 2007 and 2017. We found that in primary biological thermography papers, which make some kind of quantitative temperature measurement, 48% fail to report values used for emissivity (an object’s capacity to emit thermal radiation relative to a black body radiator), which is the minimum level of reporting that should take place. This finding highlights the need for life scientists to take into account and report key parameter information when carrying out thermography, in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number181281
Number of pages20
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Early online date5 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • thermography
  • thermal camera
  • infrared
  • emissivity
  • temperature measurement

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