Making better scientific graphics: conceptual and data figures. #PhD #PhDstudent #phdlife | Summary and Q&A

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January 1, 2021
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Life in academia
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Making better scientific graphics: conceptual and data figures. #PhD #PhDstudent #phdlife

TL;DR

Designing high-quality figures for scientific papers and proposals has become crucial for enhancing readability and accessibility of the material.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why has the importance of designing figures for scientific papers and proposals increased?

The increased emphasis on high-quality figures for enhancing the readability and accessibility of the material has led to the importance of designing figures effectively. It has become crucial for the success of papers and proposals.

Q: How should concept figures be designed?

Concept figures should go through multiple iterations, starting with doodles and sketches, and be tested on others for clarity. The figures should not surprise the reader and should match the text. The figure and its legend should stand alone in conveying the key message.

Q: What should be considered when designing data figures?

Data figures should closely represent the primary data, not just derived quantities. It is recommended to show the primary data points alongside derived quantities. Sufficiently sized symbols, clear axis labels, and easily understandable color schemes are important in data figures.

Q: Is it necessary to explain every component of a figure?

Yes, it is important to explain every component of the figure, including axis labels, symbols, and lines, in the figure legend. The figure should be self-explanatory and understandable even without referring extensively to the text.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Designing figures for papers and proposals has gained importance in recent years, as it enhances the readability and impact of the content.

  • General tips for both concept figures and data figures include taking time for planning and optimization, using color schemes that are accessible to all, and finding the right information density.

  • Concept figures should be well-matched with the written text, explain the meaning of arrows and other elements, and stand alone as a self-explanatory visual.

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