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Wahnou, H. Great Figures for Article. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 02 December 2023).
Wahnou H. Great Figures for Article. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 02, 2023.
Wahnou, Hicham. "Great Figures for Article" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 02, 2023).
Wahnou, H.(2023, September 06). Great Figures for Article. In Encyclopedia.
Wahnou, Hicham. "Great Figures for Article." Encyclopedia. Web. 06 September, 2023.
Great Figures for Article

Figures in scientific articles transcend mere visuals; they are dynamic tools for conveying complex information. This entry explores the essence of great scientific figures. Beyond illustrating data, they clarify, engage, and enhance the research narrative. Effective figures prioritize clarity, employ best data visualization practices, embrace aesthetics, and contribute to the overarching research story. Accessibility and inclusivity are paramount. These visual companions not only elucidate but also persuade, bridging the gap between textual exposition and abstract data. By mastering the art and science of crafting exceptional figures, researchers can enrich the scholarly discourse, fostering understanding and dissemination of their discoveries.

Scientific Figures Data Visualization Scholarly Communication

1. Introduction

Figures are a fundamental component of scientific articles, playing a pivotal role in conveying complex information, illustrating findings, and enhancing the overall clarity of the research. Great figures are not just visual aids; they are powerful tools that can significantly impact the reader's understanding and engagement with the article. In this research, the researchers will delve into the key elements that make figures in scientific articles truly great.  In this immersive journey through the world of scientific figures, we will embark on an odyssey that navigates the intricate interplay between figures and the written discourse they accompany. Figures are not mere adornments; they serve as essential components, meticulously crafted to elucidate, persuade, and resonate with the reader. Within these pages, we will dissect the very essence of what constitutes a truly great figure in the context of scientific articles.

In this comprehensive mini-review, we shall traverse the multifaceted landscape of scientific figures, each one a unique window into the heart of research. These windows are not only portals to the data but also vehicles for storytelling, offering a visual narrative that complements and enriches the textual exposition. As we venture deeper into the realm of great figures, we will explore their dual role: as clarifiers of complexity and as instruments of persuasion. We shall unveil the fundamental principles governing their design, emphasizing clarity, efficacy, aesthetics, and accessibility. Through this exploration, we aim to uncover the transformative power that figures wield within the scholarly discourse.

2. Clarity and Purpose

Great figures in scientific articles begin with clarity of purpose. Each figure should serve a specific function, contributing to the article's overall message and helping readers understand the research [1].

2.1. Data Presentation

Figures should effectively present data, whether it's in the form of graphs, charts, tables, or images. Ensure that the data is accurate, well-labeled, and easy to interpret.

2.2. Complementing Text

Figures should complement the text, not duplicate it. They should provide visual support for the content, offering additional insights or clarifications.

2.3. Focus on Key Information

Highlight the most critical information within each figure. Use clear labels, legends, and annotations to guide readers to the essential points.

2.4. Avoid Redundancy

Don't include figures that merely replicate information already presented in the text. Figures should add value by presenting data more clearly or concisely.

3. Effective Data Visualization

Great figures excel at visualizing complex data, making it accessible and understandable to a broad audience. Here are key considerations for effective data visualization [2]:

3.1. Choose the Right Type

Select the most appropriate type of figure for your data. Common choices include bar graphs, line graphs, scatterplots, histograms, and heatmaps. The choice should align with the nature of your data and research question.

3.2. Axis Labels and Units

Clearly label the axes with concise, informative labels and units of measurement. Ensure that the scale is appropriate to avoid misleading interpretations.

3.3. Legends and Color Schemes

If using color, make sure it enhances rather than confuses the figure. Include a legend if necessary, and choose a color scheme that is accessible to all readers, including those with color vision deficiencies.

3.4. Data Integrity

Maintain data integrity by accurately representing the data without manipulation or distortion. Be transparent about any data transformations or scaling.

4. Figure Design and Aesthetics

The design and aesthetics of figures play a crucial role in attracting the reader's attention and conveying information effectively [1][2].

4.1. Consistency

Maintain a consistent design style throughout all figures in your article. This includes using the same font, color scheme, and labeling conventions.

4.2. Minimalistic Design

Avoid clutter and excessive visual elements. Embrace a clean and minimalistic design that focuses the reader's attention on the data and key findings.

4.3. Size and Resolution

Ensure that figures are appropriately sized and of high resolution to maintain readability, both in print and digital formats.

4.4. Annotations and Callouts

Use annotations and callouts strategically to highlight specific data points or trends. These can provide valuable context and insights.

5. Figures as Narrative Tools

Great figures should not be seen as standalone elements but rather as integral parts of the article's narrative. They should tell a story and contribute to the overall flow of the research [1].

5.1. Figure Titles and Captions

Craft informative and concise titles and captions for each figure. These should provide context, explain the main message, and guide the reader's interpretation.

5.2. Logical Sequence

Arrange figures in a logical sequence that follows the article's structure. Each figure should build upon the previous one, contributing to the development of the research narrative.

5.3. Link to Text

Refer to figures in the text to create a seamless connection between the written content and the visual elements. Use phrases like "as shown in Figure 1" to guide readers.

5.4. Summarize Key Findings

Figures can serve as concise summaries of key findings, making it easier for readers to grasp the main points of the research.

6. Accessibility and Inclusivity

Great figures are accessible to all readers, including those with disabilities. Ensure that your figures are designed with inclusivity in mind [2].

6.1. Alt Text

Provide descriptive alt text for each figure to make them accessible to individuals who use screen readers.

6.2. High Contrast

Use high-contrast colors and patterns to improve readability for individuals with visual impairments.

6.3. Clear Labeling

Use clear and descriptive labels, avoiding abbreviations or acronyms that may not be universally understood.

6.4. Consider Different Formats

Recognize that readers may access articles in various formats, including print, PDF, and online. Ensure that figures are legible and functional across these formats.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, great figures are integral to the success of scientific articles. They are not mere adornments but essential tools for conveying complex data, enhancing clarity, and enriching the research narrative. Effective figures prioritize clarity of purpose, employ best practices in data visualization, embrace a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing design, and contribute meaningfully to the overall story of the research. Moreover, they prioritize accessibility and inclusivity to ensure that all readers can engage with the information. By understanding and implementing these principles, researchers can create figures that elevate the quality and impact of their scientific articles, fostering greater understanding and dissemination of their findings.


  1. Creating Attractive and Effective Figures for Your Academic Paper . aje. Retrieved 2023-9-6
  2. Mori S, Garneau-Tsodikova S. Making figures: are you taking the best approach to maximize visibility? Medchemcomm. 2018 Aug 8;9(9):1399-1403. doi: 10.1039/c8md90036a. PMID: 30288216; PMCID: PMC6151470.
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