Clarify and focus your message
Pirate Peel, Delvenne & Lambiotte (2018). Multiscale mixing patterns in networks. PNAS.
n = 40 m = 160 (40 B-B, 40 O-O, 80 B-O)
E(x) = 54 E(y) = 48 std(x) = 8 std(y) = 27 corr(X,Y) = -6%
Explore your data
Message: Female survive more
Message: Males in first class do fairly well
Example: Titanic dataset
Use beautiful colors
Use colors that convert to grayscale
Presentation? Careful with the contrast
Python (matplotlib + seaborn)
In any case:
Use vector graphics!!!
Make plots interactive
Step 1: Determine your point and your audience
Step 2: Map the most important variable(s) to length
Step 3: Use color only if necessary
Differences within row
Required with log-scales
Proportions over x
...what about pie charts?
- Allow to compare the number to the total easily
- People understand them
--> Useful for reports, not so much in papers
Too many points?
Do you actually need a map?
Color is key here (more on this later). No rainbows! No diverging scales for amounts starting at 0!
Combine with a barplot or bubbles if the sizes are highly unequal
Different ways to visualize networks
Faskowitz et al(2018). Weighted stochastic block models of the human connectome across the life span. Scientific reports
Do you actually need a network?
Face it, you don't need to show your hairball.
Sometimes you can visualize it:
- Small networks when humans can understand (karate club, medici)
- Convince the reader about a point that you want to make
Grid lines that run perpendicular to the key variable of interest tend to be the most useful.
The real value is not important
Don't use more than 4 lines
Unless you gray most and highlight 1-2
Colors consistent across figures
Same type of figures in the paper
Try to guide the audience
Horizontal bar plots usually look better
Prototype and ask for feedback
Always: Use tidy data.
Step 1: Determine your point and your audience.
Step 2: Choose an appropriate visualization:
Step 3: Prototype different visualizations and ask for feedback.
Step 4: Remove all unnecessary components, make sure fonts are large enough and subplots are aligned.
Step 5: Save the figure as PDF (or EPS).
Step 6: Do minor edits in Inkscape or Illustrator.
Leão, J. C., Brandão, M. A., de Melo, P. O. V., & Laender, A. H. (2018). Who is really in my social circle?. Journal of Internet Services and Applications, 9(1), 20.