Friday, April 15, 2011

Show me a picture, please!

The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" seems to be falling by the wayside. I was reading an article on a novel biocomposite material yesterday and could not find a picture of what the new material looked like. Was it clear, cloudy, white, brown, yellow...what? And of course, there was not a description either. How can that be? Doesn't anyone want to know, as that certainly can be helpful in ruling in or out potential applications.

I complained about this same issue a few weeks back regarding research on highly accelerated UV aging of materials, and how there was not a single picture of the exposed material.

It's all the stranger given that most people have a camera on their cellphones, that digital cameras are now more or less disposable, and that photo processing software exists on every computer. Publishers certainly have fewer issues than ever in receiving the photos, handling them and making them available, even as online supplemental materials. So why are fewer and fewer photos showing up in our research articles?

1 comment:

Paul said...


And even if the photos are not "publication quality", they could at least be tucked into the Supporting Information. There are times I've wished that someone had snapped a cell-phone pic of their synthetic apparatus and put it in the SI next to the recipe.