From Discovery—through Communication—to Application: Some Highlights of the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting (Part 1)

The 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), held 15–19 February in Austin, Texas, bore the theme “Advancing Science: Discovery to Application” (Figure 1). Not surprisingly, given how discoveries come to be applied, many sessions dealt at least in part with communicating science. The following are highlights of some sessions science editors and those in related fields may find of particular interest. A report on additional sessions will appear in the next issue of Science Editor. “Trends in Visual Science Communication: Creating Inspiring, Informative Journal Figures” By Mary Beth Schaefer When preparing illustrations, as when doing research, scientists should plan carefully. This was the main advice from presenters Shiz Aoki, cofounder of the science illustration tool BioRender, and Savanna Jackson, user interface/user experience (UI/UX) researcher and designer with BioRender, at the session “Trends in Visual Science Communication: Creating Inspiring, Informative Journal Figures.” In part because most of us are visual learners, images are vital to science communication. However, many figures in papers submitted to journals lack quality. In fact, the presenters said, poor figures are a common reason journals reject papers. Why are so many figures poor? Scientists face time and resource constraints, and few are trained in design, Jackson observed. She noted scientists spend much of their time carefully crafting an experiment and executing the procedure but generally put less care into creating figures. “Researchers work so hard on their actual science. Why can’t it be presented beautifully?” she asked. Design process The […]

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