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  • Associate Professor
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  • Research Engineer
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  • Undergraduate Student
  • Veterinary
  • Visiting Scientist
  • Deputy Director of Center
  • Deputy Director of Department
  • Deputy Director of National Reference Center
  • Deputy Head of Facility
  • Director of Center
  • Director of Department
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© Research
Publication : PLoS biology

Creating clear and informative image-based figures for scientific publications.

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in PLoS biology - 01 Mar 2021

Jambor H, Antonietti A, Alicea B, Audisio TL, Auer S, Bhardwaj V, Burgess SJ, Ferling I, Gazda MA, Hoeppner LH, Ilangovan V, Lo H, Olson M, Mohamed SY, Sarabipour S, Varma A, Walavalkar K, Wissink EM, Weissgerber TL,

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33788834

Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001161

PLoS Biol 2021 03; 19(3): e3001161

Scientists routinely use images to display data. Readers often examine figures first; therefore, it is important that figures are accessible to a broad audience. Many resources discuss fraudulent image manipulation and technical specifications for image acquisition; however, data on the legibility and interpretability of images are scarce. We systematically examined these factors in non-blot images published in the top 15 journals in 3 fields; plant sciences, cell biology, and physiology (n = 580 papers). Common problems included missing scale bars, misplaced or poorly marked insets, images or labels that were not accessible to colorblind readers, and insufficient explanations of colors, labels, annotations, or the species and tissue or object depicted in the image. Papers that met all good practice criteria examined for all image-based figures were uncommon (physiology 16%, cell biology 12%, plant sciences 2%). We present detailed descriptions and visual examples to help scientists avoid common pitfalls when publishing images. Our recommendations address image magnification, scale information, insets, annotation, and color and may encourage discussion about quality standards for bioimage publishing.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33788834