Good figures (graphs, line drawings, photographs, etc.) often are essential to create informative manuscripts, and properly designed figures are typically more useful to the reader than any other part of a paper. Poorly constructed figures, or those that convey little information, detract from the articles effectiveness. Authors are required to use good ethical judgment in the preparation of figures, particularly digital figures. Images must not be cropped or otherwise manipulated to obscure, move or introduce any element germane to interpretation of the data. Although certain manipulations are acceptable, such as adjusting the brightness or color balance of an entire image, nothing should be done to any part of an illustration that does not affect all other parts equally. Exceptions to this policy (such as introducing false color to highlight a feature) are permitted only if the full consequences of that manipulation are explicitly described.
Authors concerned about detail being lost within a specific part of a figure should alert the editors and printer to this fact in a note on or attached to the figure. Color illustrations and folded inserts can be printed only if the extra costs are paid by the author. The original figures will not be returned to the author unless requested.
Figures are numbered consecutively with an Arabic numeral based on the order that they are first mentioned in the text. The word Figure is spelled out in full at the start of a sentence or when used outside parentheses in any sentence. Use the abbreviation Fig. or Figs. followed by the number inside parentheses in the body of the text. For example: (Figs. 1,2), (Figs. 1-4). Where several subfigures are grouped together to make a composite figure, the subfigures are labeled with the figure number followed by a capital Roman letter (e.g., Fig. 1A). Each of the subfigures should be mentioned in the text before the next numbered figure is introduced. For example, it would be incorrect to mention Figure 3 before mentioning Figure 2D. There is no spacing between the letters of subfigures. For example: (Fig. 1A,B), (Fig. 1A-C), (Figs.1A,B; 2A). Figure (and Table) numbers should not be mentioned in the Discussion.
Figure legends: Each figure has a correspondingly numbered figure legend. Figure legends, with their figures, should stand alone, i.e., not require a reading of the manuscript to comprehend the figure. These are listed consecutively beginning on a new page entitled LEGENDS FOR FIGURES. The abbreviation Fig. followed by the number begins the actual legend (e.g., Fig. 1). Use a paragraph style for all figure legends in the same plate; indent the first line. All abbreviations and symbols within a figure should be explained within the legend. Linnaean binomials should be spelled out the first mention in figure legends.
Figure submission: It is preferred that figures be prepared as digital files and submitted along with the text as e-mail attachments. Authors are strongly encouraged to consult the Guidelines for Digital Art prepared by the current printer of JON, Sheridan Press. For review purposes, figures may be submitted in various formats, providing that: 1) the format is sufficiently common that the reviewers will be able to open the file. MS Word or PowerPoint files are generally acceptable, but if in doubt, Portable Document Format (.pdf) should be used; 2) the quality of the figures submitted for review purposes must be sufficiently high as to permit suitable review. This also is the case for hard copy submission. Authors should be mindful of file size. Exceptionally large files (>10 Mb) may have to be compressed for review because of the limitations that exist in the email systems of some potential reviewers. File names should include the first author and the figure number.
Once a manuscript has been accepted for publication by JON, authors are required to provide final versions of electronically submitted figures in either TIFF (.tif), JPEG (.jpg) or Encapsulated Postscript (.eps) format. The resolution of these figures should be at least 900 dpi for line art; half tone images (photographs) should be at least 300 dpi.
Information for the submission of hard copies is available here. Note that the instructions for preparing digital figures also apply to the production of hard copy.
Size: A printed Journal page is 174 mm x 240 mm, arranged as two 85 mm wide columns. Figures should be designed with these dimensions in mind, and ideally, authors should exactly scale their figures to either one-column or full-page width. If the figures submitted do not conform to these dimensions, authors should indicate on the figure whether full-page width or one-column width is desired (see Identification). Figures should not be submitted smaller than the final size desired. Because it is preferred that the figure legend be printed on the same page as the figure, authors should strive to make the height less than 240 mm.
Whenever it makes logical sense to group them, illustrations, graphs and photographs should be combined and assembled into composite figures. Each subfigure, labeled A, B, C, etc., may be arranged across the page, down a column, or assembled into a composite plate. Because separation of subfigures by wide gutters attracts the readers eye to the empty space between the subfigures instead of the illustration, it is important that subfigures should be assembled as close to each other as possible without having them mistaken for a single figure.
Labeling: Lettering on illustrations should be of high contrast and at least 1 mm high at final print size. The location and color (black or white) of the letters should ensure that they can easily be read. The chosen font (ideally a sans-serif type such as Helvetica) and size (no smaller than 12 point) should be the same for all letters within a figure (except for italicized scientific names) and for all figures within the same manuscript. Large letters and bold type can overwhelm the data contained within a figure and are discouraged. Authors should pay attention to the effect that digitally resizing subfigures might have on the lettering. Lettering on figures should be either computer-generated or of the transfer type. Subfigures should be labeled with uppercase A, B, etc., ideally in the upper left corner of the subfigure. Labels should be within the logical border of the figure so as not to introduce excessive white space.
Composite plates : Halftone images, such as photographs (digital or otherwise) should be combined and assembled into composite plates where possible. The size of each of the subfigures may be different from each other, but each subfigure must be square or rectangular. Each of the subfigures should be immediately adjacent to each other, without any white space; the printer will insert a 1-mm hairline between each. The final composite plate should conform to JON column- or page-width size. If hard copies (i.e., not digital files) are prepared, the photographs (or other illustrations) must be square-cut and mounted square with respect to each other and immediately adjacent.
Magnification: Size bars should be added to figures to indicate magnification when they are appropriate. Because figure size may change during reproduction, numerical values of reproduction (e.g., x100) may change during reproduction and therefore must not be used in figures or in figure legends.
Graphs: Graphs are used to present relational data characterized by a pronounced trend; tables are often more appropriate to report accurate numbers, report data with no trends, or present data with certain statistical comparisons. If practical, all graphs within the same manuscript should have the same size, format, scaling, and type style. Ideal graphs are slightly wider than they are high, but this rule should not be followed if lack of clarity results.
Labels in graphs should clearly state what was measured and in what units; the units should be in parentheses at the end of the label. Use the JON style for complex units. Labels should be parallel to the axis, not perpendicular or askew.
All four sides of a graph should form a square. Do not use X- or Y-axis grid lines for line or bar graphs. All segments of all lines (including axes and tick marks) should be distinct, and error bars should be easily readable. Tick marks along the axes should be used and should describe real intervals instead of being merely decorative. Identify some (but not all) of the tick marks. The axes should not extend beyond the range of data points and should not be thicker than the data lines, which are the focal points of the graph and are ideally twice as wide as the axis lines. The finest lines in a graph should be the error bars. Excessively heavy lines and letters will become exaggerated in thickness when reduced and should be avoided. All lines must be uniformly black, and the corners of intersecting lines must be clean.
Graphs within the same figure should be labeled A, B, etc. Linnaean binomials must be italicized. All letters and symbols should be distinct when the graph is printed at final size. Any symbol used within a graph to mark a data point should be one that is commonly typeset. Solid and hollow circles, triangles, and squares are best. In addition, use different styles of lines as well as different symbols for identifying different groupings of data. If space permit, lines may be defined within the graph instead of the figure legend, but the graph should maintain an uncluttered appearance.
Shading in bar graphs is desirable and can be best achieved by setting different levels of grey scale. If other patterns are needed, they should consist of solid black or line patterns rather than stippled dots. Three-dimensional graphs are acceptable only if the Z- axis contains information.