Graphics for Scientists - Introduction

29 Jan 2013 | tags: science, graphics

As DeevyBee has pointed out previously, these days academic publishers expect scientists to not only to produce the written content of a journal article but also to provide figures in a suitable format that they can use directly, usually to very specific technical guidelines (for an example see the Wiley’s guidelines for Angew. Chem.. Although I don’t entirely agree with DeevyBee’s position on this, part of science communication is the production of good quality graphics, the expectation by publishers that all scientists will be au fait with the technicalities of graphic design is absurb and throwing around jargon such as

The colors for color pictures must be defined with the CMYK system (do not use the RGB color system, which is common in Windows).


Final format for vector graphics (stick diagrams, etc.): Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) with bound fonts and the characters must be converted into outlines, not Postscript (PS). The “bounding boxes” must be of an appropriate size.

is pointless when abbreviations such as CMYK are completely alien to them. This is somewhat ironic considering that the Angew. Chem. author guidelines also state

Please be considerate to our many readers for whom English is a foreign language - use a simple, clear style and avoid jargon.

With this in mind a couple of years ago I gave a brief presentation on the basics of producing publication quality graphics to a couple of the research groups I work with. Having recently spent a lot time preparing graphics for publication, often having to either start from scratch or make do with poor quality sources, I thought I’d produce a document that students etc could refer to in future. Rather than keep it in house I thought I’d produce it as a series of posts on here. As and when I add sections I’ll link to them from here.

Part 1. Basics - Raster vs. Vector Graphics

Part 2. Color Spaces, Resolutions and Compression

Part 3. Raster File Formats

Part 4. Vector File Formats

Part 5. Software


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