152

While there may be a way to add a very cool and colorful plot to my paper, I don't think it is necessary, it would be complicated to read and so I should add more text to explain how to read it. It doesn't seem to me that you have really considered the reviewer's request seriously. You seem to think they should just be able to follow the formulas without ...


128

Science aims at revelation and insight. Before you can even consider dropping these samples, you need to understand why they exist. The reason is that unexpectedly "good" data can be just as much a sign of problems with your theory as unexpectedly bad data. Are these data points telling you that you've got a bug in your algorithm? Are they saying that ...


118

I think readers will be strongly expecting that time increases from left to right in a graph. It's probably not a "rule" that you'll find written down anywhere, but it's certainly the overwhelmingly common practice. Having time go from right to left will very likely confuse your readers, and I don't think it should be done unless there is a very strong ...


88

You can use images showing up in Google Search if and only if the license allows for it. Therefore, you might be interested in Advanced Google Image Search, where you can search by copyright status. More information about the Usage rights search can be found here. For example, here are freely useable images searching for "Mars". Notice how many of them ...


70

First, there is no rule that you need to have a picture of yourself on your professional webpage. Most people do, but there's no rule. It's nice to have some image that represents you (giving people's visual memories something to hold onto), but that could as easily be something from your research or anything, really. Second, I would not recommend posting ...


65

Hail to Colorbrewer I use Cynthia Brewer's website Colorbrewer to pick color schemes. It's also embedded in ggplot2 which is a common choice of graphing package in R. It allows users to specify colorblind-safe and photocopy-able color schemes. It's meant to be for map making, but the idea works for visualization all across the broad. Other color specialists ...


64

Unless I totally misunderstand what kind of colours we are talking about, your student did what I would consider best practice. Using a consistent colour scheme for all figures in a publication or presentation is a good thing for the following reasons: It is aesthetically pleasing, in particular on posters and presentations. If two plots have colour axis ...


64

Human cognition is a strange thing, and I won't pretend I know it well enough to give you a guide, but I will suggest that you simply consider your audience and how you want them to move through the information. A dense, heavy talk with few breaks will tire most audiences. A light talk that doesn't require much thought will result in many people letting ...


62

The "rule" is that you should create figures that make it easy for readers to understand what you are showing. That's because we use figures to convey information. So, if your choice of axis is confusing readers, then you've violated the rule. Looking at your figure, I find it confusing, and several of the others here appear to have had the same reaction. ...


60

Is it unscientific? Yes. The purpose of these plots is not to show that the algorithm is fast, but rather to give an accurate picture of its speed. Intentionally removing outliers without explanation gives a distorted picture. It's OK if you are clear about it (for example, explaining in the caption or text about the outliers that were removed and why), ...


50

Some people will tell you that colors shouldn't matter because only data should matter. Those people are wrong. All human readers (including reviewers) find some graphical presentations easier to digest and comprehend than others, and the choices that matter include color. Of particular note, it is often important to consider color-blind readers, who ...


49

Running a journal with Wiley as a publisher, Wiley's instructions state JPEG, TIFF and EPS are acceptable formats. Since many authors supply figures in PDF and PNG I started to pass these on to the type-setter and found that no issues erupted. It is therefore clear that publishers may lag behind with their recommendations while type-setters are quicker to ...


48

I don't object to have fun, but I would object to have fun when you need to be serious. Because when the audience need you to be serious to your talk, then a funny picture will disrupt the thinking and they will be anxious. If your talk in short, then I suggest you to put the comic at the end of the talk. If your talk is long, then I think putting it in the ...


47

Excel can produce high quality charts, but it takes a lot of work. The biggest difference between Excel and other systems is the quality of the defaults. I suspect some people are using excel charts, but they have gone to a lot of effort to tidy them up. In the example chart, you will, for example, definitely need to deal with the x-axis labels overlapping ...


47

The paper is yours and it is up to you how you revise it. You aren't required to take every suggestion, but you should, at least, consider every suggestion, including what is behind it. Whether that makes your paper more or less useful is up to readers, of whom the reviewer is one. But, perhaps the reviewer is more of a visual learner than you are and is ...


46

When making plots, I like to use reasonably subtle colours and combine them with different line or marker styles (e.g. blue triangles and red circles, or a black solid line and a blue dotted line). If printed in black and white the figure is still easily readable, and the colour version makes things a little more differentiable. Stick to dark or pale ...


45

I can't even imagine a situation in which criticizing published academic materials on their merits would be wrong or immoral. How would it be different from criticizing someone's selection of an econometric or statistical model to use on their data? This happens constantly in academic literature, and in fact is crucial to the process of research. The ...


43

Find an interesting image. Check for licensing conditions. If license has generous terms (like Creative Commons license) allowing free reuse of the image, or reuse under conditions that you meet (like attribution or absence of modifications), use the image. If you think your use is covered by fair use: use the image. Otherwise, contact the copyright holder ...


41

As others have already pointed out: The convention is that the numbers should increase from left to right. And even though it's not really a rule, but only a convention, it is so common that any deviation might be hard to justifiy. However, it might be the case that you're just using inappropriate labels. You mentioned that your field is environmental ...


40

You attempted to use a crayon license, that is, modify the terms of an existing well-established license to better suit your needs. This is frowned upon, because it can cause legal complications. In particular, the license CC-BY-NC 4.0 license that you attached to your work states The Licensor shall not be bound by any additional or different terms or ...


35

I would say: Use tables if the actual values are of importance and use plots if trends (or similar things) are important. The rationale is simply that one cannot extract actual values of a function at specific places from plot. Vice verse its much simpler to see linear growth or periodicity from a plot than from a table.


35

Logos are often trademarked, and therefore you are not free to recolor them according to whatever color scheme your template happens to use. However, many companies and universities do have multiple versions of their logo available, for precisely this reason. You should contact your university's (or organization's) press office (or similar office) to see ...


34

I know that TikZ was mentioned already, but I think it deserve its own answer. It is different from Omnigraffle just like TeX is different from Word. But, if you're up for the effort, you'll enjoy the freedom of producing extremely high quality figures! True, using TikZ for "heavy" diagrams can lead to lengthy compilations, but this can be solved using the ...


34

Somewhere during my studies I have learnt that a figure and its caption should form a self-contained element. That means, if I isolated a single figure together with its caption from a random publication and gave it to you, you should from those bits of information be able to deduce what this figure is about and what you see there. That does of course not ...


33

Don't do this. Here is some random data with 21 experiments A-U, each one repeated 3 times. In both cases, the experimentwise means (indicated using red crosses) are identical, but the within-experiment standard deviations are very different (1.0 in the top graph and 0.2 in the bottom one). R code is below. Just seeing the experimentwise means is very ...


33

Have you consulted with others? Good data visualization is a skill in and of itself; just because you can't envision a good plot from your data doesn't mean there isn't a good plot to be made. Remember that while you've been steeped in your paper for a while, and find all of the content intuitive at this point, you still want to make it as easy as possible ...


32

In the United States, you should never include a photo in an academic CV. It comes across as somewhat inappropriate, like you are deliberately drawing attention to your appearance and hoping it will influence the decision. (I know that's not actually the intent, but many people's gut reaction upon seeing the photo will be "Why is the applicant showing me ...


31

Even if it's not a formal requirement, consider how important first impressions are. People will judge a paper with sloppy diagrams, and assume that the results and writing will also be sloppy. This is especially true for a PhD thesis. Since you've had 4-5 years to work on it, people will assume that a thesis is well-written and every aspect carefully ...


31

Yes. For a practical scenario, imagine someone trying to replicate your research, going only by your paper, and beating themselves over the head thinking they have a bug, because their plot shows these weird outliers. Basically, you have to give people all the information, because you don't know how they're going to use your paper. Probably, most readers ...


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