30 May 2019

Link roundup for May 2019

In our semi-regular “Best poster I’ve seen” dredged from social media, Fabian Roger calls this “absolutely brilliant”:

Poster by Therese Karlsson, who said, “Never had as much fun making a poster as this one!”

A longer post analyzing this poster is coming!

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Mike Morrison’s billboard format poster continues to generate discussion. My Cousin Amygdala wrote:

This whole Instagram-a-fication of scientific posters movement is my least favorite science trend right now. It misses the entire point of scientific posters, which is to facilitate networking and scientific discussion. Your poster isn’t a popularity contest or a memory test. You present a poster at a meeting to facilitate discussion with your peers. It isn’t a passive process. No one is going to “discover” your poster.

You are presenting at a scientific meeting, be proactive about using your poster as a networking tool. Tell interested parties about it beforehand, nicely, and that you would appreciate their input. If you are a student your mentors should assist you with this process.

I have attended countless poster sessions and thrown away enough poster handouts to cover the earth three times over.

I do not remember the contents of any single poster, but I absolutely remember & have benefited from the peer interactions that posters facilitate.

The conversation continues in retweet. Hat tip to Dr. Becca.

Here is a short thread from Kathryn Vaillancourt. Excerpt:

The #betterposter seems like an overstep in the right direction.

There is also lots to consider in Julie Blommeart’s thread. Hat tip to Milton Tan.

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Speaking of Mike Morrison, he is interviewed about conference posters here. Excerpt:

I’m very personally invested in improving the rate of discovery across many different fields. As for the poster, it’s something that I could take a swing at on my own. There are much more damaging bottlenecks, like the scientific article publishing system, peer review inefficiencies, etc. But those will take teams of well-funded people to fix. The poster was the lowest-hanging fruit.

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Meanwhile, in the, “Don’t be that person who makes graphs like this” department:

This... seems like a lot of work to go through for two numbers. (I duplicated this in Excel, and it took a long frickin’ time.) Hat tip to Louisa Smith and Justin Kiggins.

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I have been to India. The women are not as tiny as this graph makes them appear.

I have no such first hand knowledge of women in Latvia, however. Hat tip to Bill the Lizard.

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Zombies are hot in popular culture, but should not be in research conferences. Nature has an article about how to avoid becoming a “conference zombie” ( person who has no energy and does not notice what is happening around them).

Plan. Take breaks. Sleep.

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Nice article about using colour in data visualizations. Tips include colour coding for bad news:

For negative results red, orange, purple and generally darker and muted colors often feature in data visualizations.

Hat tip to Nancy Duarte.

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Speaking of colour, if you organize or recognize books by colour, you are not alone. Helen Rosner wrote:

When I worked at a bookstore, the number of customers saying, “I don’t remember the title but it had a purple spine” points to color actually being a pretty good organizing principle. What my books look like is absolutely part of how I mentally catalog them. At home, I tend to organize by category and subcategory and then by size and color.

(V)irtually all books spend more time being looked at than being read. And the more books you have, the more likely it is. Spare me the wrath of the book snobs who believe any whisper of aesthetics undermines virtue.

I think this is a great reminder of how powerful the visual element of something is more than the words.

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