Thursday, March 5, 2009

Precise Figures in Science

I was scanning the most recent issue of Brain Research Reviews when I came across an interesting figure.
Just take a moment and look at it:

If you're thinking "What in the world is that?" or "What is a Matisse painting doing in a neuroscience journal?" or perhaps some more colorful but equivalent phrase, congratulations. Me too.

The text accompanying the figure reads, "Receptor chunking. Isolated receptors statically scattered on the extracellular membrane (upper panel, adapted from H. Matisse, La Musique, 1910, oil on canvas), then cluster together into a “receptor chunk” after activation by the specific ligand ATP, and convey the feeling of emotional liberation into a function (lower panel, adapted from H. Matisse, La Dance, 1910, oil on canvas)." (emphasis mine)


I later noticed an editorial in the same issue:
Free colour illustrations in the online version of articles
We are delighted to be able to inform you about an important development that is of benefit to the authors and readers of Brain Research.
Scientists in many disciplines need to be able to publish their work in colour, but the cost of printing figures in colour can be prohibitive and we realise that not all authors have sufficient funds to cover the charges.
Brain Research now offers the facility for authors to publish their illustrations in colour in the online version of the journal (in ScienceDirect: at no cost - regardless of whether the illustrations appear in colour or black-and-white in the print journal.

I guess the authors got excited about this news and went a little overboard.
Figure and quotes taken from Volonté et al. Brain Research Reviews (59) November 2008, p1-8

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