Figure Guidelines

Figure Guidelines

The following are general guidelines for figures in manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Asian Health. For initial reviews, we prefer that each figure and its corresponding legend is presented together on its own page within the manuscript document. Full resolution figure files are not required for the initial submission, but will be requested if the manuscript is accepted for publication.


Image Preparation Guidelines

  • No data within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced by digital manipulation or artificial intelligence/machine learning-based tools. Images gathered at different times or from different locations should not be combined into a single image, unless it is stated that the resultant image is a product of time-averaged data or a time-lapse sequence. Grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields or exposures must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (e.g., by using prominent dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend.
  • Blots and gels must be presented with as much context as possible. (i.e., panels should not be cut up into individual blots).
  • The use of touch-up tools, such as cloning and healing tools in Photoshop, or any feature that deliberately obscures manipulations, is unacceptable.
  • Linear adjustment of contrast, brightness or color must be applied equally to controls and all parts of an entire image. Contrast should be adjusted to maximize dynamic range and should allow all data to be visible. Excessive manipulations, such as processing to emphasize one region in the image at the expense of others (e.g., by choosing biased threshold settings), is unacceptable, as is emphasizing experimental data relative to the control. Nonlinear adjustments (e.g., changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend.
  • Photomicrographs must have a scale bar.
  • Authors must be prepared to submit the original, unaltered files from which the submitted figures were derived, if requested by the editorial team.


Data Visualization Guidelines

  • Figures visualizing data need to be generally designed and presented in such a way that they allow readers to understand and critically interpret the data.
  • Bar graphs should be avoided except when showing counts or proportions. Continuous data and small sample sizes should be represented with figures that show the full data distribution, such as dot or scatter plots.
  • All data points should be made visible in figures whenever possible. Consider using semi-transparency or show gradients in scatter plots and flow-cytometry figures and symmetric jittering in dot plots.
  • Consider adding a flow chart or study design diagram if it would enhance the clarity of the manuscript. Flow charts should provide information about the number of excluded observations and reasons for exclusion at each phase of the study.
  • Ensure that figures use easily distinguishable colors/lines/symbols and are optimized for those with color blindness. Free color blindness simulators such as Color Oracle may be helpful for this.


Figure Label & Panel Guidelines

  • Figure axes and other components should be clearly labeled. Letters and labels must be uniform in size and style within each figure and, when possible, between figures.
  • Labels for panels should be clearly marked by uppercase letters (A, B, C, etc.) in the upper left corner of each panel.
  • Font used within the figure should be no smaller than 8 points for legibility. Units of measurement should be labeled consistently with the text and legend, following AMA style for unit abbreviations.
  • Limit white space between figure panels and within each panel.
  • Authors are strongly encouraged to limit the number of panels per figure to 6. To keep figures easy to read and interpret, please split data into multiple figures if there is a need for more than 6 panels.
  • Avoid headings on the figure. Heading information should appear in the figure legend.


Figure Legend Guidelines

  • In the figure legend, provide a short title and explanation of the figure. The legend should be brief but of sufficient detail to make the figure intelligible without referencing the text (unless a similar explanation has been given in another figure).
  • Symbols and abbreviations must be defined in the figure legend.
  • All image acquisition tools and image processing software packages used for figure preparation should be listed Deviations from the above Image Preparation Guidelines, including nonlinear adjustments, must be indicated in the figure legend along with a description of the processing software used.
  • For representative panels, the exact number of samples (n) should be listed.
  • Figure legends should describe any statistical tests used.
  • If the figure is reprinted/adapted from another source, please provide a permission letter and include the source in the legend. 


Figure Publication Guidelines

  • Figure files should be uploaded in TIFF, EPS, or PDF format with figure legends extracted and included with the manuscript text file.
  • Figures should be supplied at the highest resolution possible: line art at 1200 dpi; everything else including CT scans, radiographs, other halftones, and color images must be at least 600 dpi.
  • Color files should be submitted as RGB. Figures that will appear in black and white should be submitted as black and white.
  • Graphics downloaded from the Web (usually in a compressed format with low dpi) are not acceptable for publication.
  • Multi-paneled figures must have all panels assembled into one figure and supplied as one file.