Continuing on my stats and figure theme from last week, I’m curious as to how most of our readers make figures. I drafted this post before those posts appeared, and had no idea how common my approach of moving figures from a stats program into another program for final touch ups was. It seems like something that people mostly don’t talk about, though the few times I’ve mentioned doing that to other scientists, they’ve generally been really relieved to hear they weren’t the only person who does this. The comments on those posts from last week suggest there’s a lot of variation in how people do things, but that it might be pretty common for people to do some or a lot of processing of a figure in a program like Powerpoint or Illustrator.
So, I think it would be interesting to poll our readers. As an example, here’s a figure from a recent article by Wolak, Roff, and Fairbairn, entitled “Are we underestimating the genetic variances of dimorphic traits?”:
(I have no connection to this paper – I picked the figure because I think it shows the sorts of data that ecologists often want to plot, and has multiple panels.)
Let’s assume this was your manuscript and you wanted to make this figure. How would you do it? (Feel free to ignore panel B if that helps. Here, I’m interested in how you’d plot data you collected.)
On to the next question:
*I’m just going with options I can think of people mentioning off the top of my head. I’m sure I’m forgetting some. When I was first coming up with the list, I thought of CricketGraph, then realized that’s more than a tad outdated.
Finally, let’s assume a reviewer asked you to remake the figure excluding all the data from one of your study sites. How long would this take you (assuming you would be doing this 6 months or so after making the original figure)?
I will be very interested in seeing what people do!