What kind of objects can be qualified as artifacts? How do we distinguish such objects?
An artifact in biology usually refers to experimental error or other spurious results. In the context of microbiology, you will get artifacts if, for example, you sneeze on the plate you are growing a colony on.
The term is generally used for any result that is not actually true but stems from bad analysis or experimental procedures. Take, for example, this definition from biology-online.com:
Something artificial, a distortion that does not reflect normal anatomy or pathology, not usually found in the body. For example: in radiology, the appearance on an x-ray of a surgical metal clip that obscures the clear view of an anatomical structure.
This is a very good question! There are many factors there so the list would be very long. There are many kinds of artifacts too, some related to processes and the other on technical devices. Some of the processes we do not know or we have not defined those rigorously mathematically. It depends on the methods used to get the final list. You need to specify exactly the research tool(s) and narrow the scope still to be able to define exactly some artifacts.