I am writing my PhD thesis in engineering at a research university in the US.
My question is about using frames (or boxes) around a plot, specifically simulation results plotted as a function of time. These figures are intended to span the entire width of the type-area (i.e. paragraph width) and are to be displayed prominently.
Here is a simple example for comparison between the two options (framed and open):
Is there any convention regarding such frames, e.g., as documented by prominent style guides? I am all up for minimalism (use greyscale, avoid clutter etc), but I wonder if removing the surrounding frame itself is too much (and may surprise exam committee in unexpected ways) due to going against existing conventions.
My university doesn’t have a style guide. And when I checked with the research support office, they said that as long as it adheres to acceptable scientific style, it is fine.
When this question was originally asked on the graphic design SE site, a user recommended that the x-label should not be near the bottom edge of the frame, but rather a horizontal axis should be drawn at y = 0, and the labelling of the x-axis should be done near this. I am skeptical of this advice, since most engineering software (eg. MATLAB) does not do this.