Design of Scientific Graphics Prof. Melissa A. Hines ~3.25" max typ. 2 mm min. typ. Two key criteria: Max graphic width & min font height Design of Scientific Graphics for Publication Prepare all graphics at full scale (see journal rules).
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Design of Scientific Graphics
Prof. Melissa A. Hines
~3.25" max typ.
2 mm min. typ.
Two key criteria: Max graphic width & min font height
Prepare all graphics at full scale (see journal rules).
Note that journals often compress graphics w/o asking.
Choose designs that make your graphs self-explanatory.
Don’t use captions as a crutch!
Note: You do not need permission to use someone else's data (taken from a published source).
Choose the aspect ratio that flatters your data,
not some dead Greek philosopher.
Pro: Minimal design
Pro: Easier to judge scale on RHS of graph
General Rule: Axes should span data range unless removing zero creates false impressions.
Replotted data suggest a functional relationship
Play with different ways of plotting your data.
Published graph suggests a correlation
Baseline must be shown on both sides of peaks.
Use second axis to show data in different units.
Column and row headers explain different parts of graph w/o captions.
Individual labels on sub-images only necessary for reference in text. (Do not include in presentations!)
Note all images have same scale bar.
Shading is particularly useful in indicating changes in experimental conditions.
The histograms (data) are shaded for emphasis and to help the reader perceive their shape.
The limiting curves (exp & Gaussian) are left unfilled for reference.
The shaded curve represents historical data; the black line is the new data.
This emphasizes that the two spectra have:
– different peaks
– different linewidths
Solution: Add "depth" by outlining new data in white. (Trick: Double plot new data in fat white under thin red.)
Problem: New data (black) doesn't stand out from old data (red shading)
Differential absorption spectrum
Plot regions of interest, leaving breaks in axes for "boring" areas.
Caution: Scale should remain constant across all regions!
Use insets to plot regions of interest.
If possible, put legend in the same order as items on the graph.
Jumbled order will confuse the reader.
Solution: Allow curves to overlap, but also plot residual (difference between two curves)
Problem: Nearly identical curves cannot be distinguished when plotted on same graph. Offset?
A structured residual is indicative ofinappropriate modeling function.
Pie charts have no place in science.
Well-documented problems with accurate perception of relative areas.
This graph has no discernable message!
Make a new publication-quality graph that emphasizes:
– Contributions to US energy landscape by energy type vs year
– Percentage of renewable energy vs year
You can install Igor Pro on your personal computer or a lab computer for use in completing the assignment.
You cannot use the program for research or personal use without buying a license.