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5 Reasons to Include Science Figures in Your Research Paper

Written by Scribendi

For a new idea to catch on, it needs to be catchy! Research papers that include visual elements, such as science figures, are proven to get readers' attention, a more valuable commodity than ever. 

Marketing experts suggest that visual elements are 30 times more likely to grab readers' attention than plain text. In other words, papers that include science figures will reach more people and keep them interested. 

A graphical abstract is a particular type of science figure that presents an overview of your paper. It is a single, memorable image that highlights your primary points. 

Science Figure Example 1

Did you know that 90% of the information registered by the human brain is visual? Indeed, science figures double engagement, according to a new study. It's the scientific approach to science communication.

Here are 5 reasons to include science figures in your next research paper.

1. Science Figures Make Text-Heavy Papers More Interesting

Research papers are not usually thought of as exciting reading, even when they follow the rules of effective academic writing. However, a little creativity can go a long way. 

Breaking down a complex topic into smaller sections will make your paper appeal to all types of readers. By also adding science figures into your document, you are much more likely to engage your audience and hold their attention.

2. A Science Figure Is Worth 1,000 Words

Science figures can communicate findings, methods, and results. Even highly technical concepts can be summed up with science figures (just take a look at the example below).

3. Science Figures Are Attention Grabbing

Strategically using science figures increases the impact of your research. In fact, original graphics and charts are some of the main tools used by marketing firms to attract audiences and improve engagement.

Science Figure Example 2

The image above presents highly technical information in a straightforward format, making key findings accessible to a wide audience.

4. Science Figures Help to Promote Papers

Research papers need to be marketed effectively to gain readership. Nearly 32.5% of marketers state that creating original graphics or infographics is a key aspect of their content production process. 

To that end, adding science figures to your paper will increase the likelihood that it will be found by a reader looking for information on your topic. Many prominent publishers such as Elsevier and Cell, and even traditional journals like The New England Journal of Medicine, require authors to submit science figures along with their papers.

5. Science Figures Are Easily Repurposable

One of the biggest advantages of creating science figures is having your main findings summed up in a single image. 

Science Figure Template

You can then share that image on social media networks and journal websites to drive traffic to your paper. According to a recent study, this approach will increase your reach by 200%.

Before sharing your science figures, be sure to have them proofread. An embarrassing error can mean the difference between your audience acknowledging your credibility—or not. 


The most important reason to include science figures in your work is to make it accessible and memorable. Humans process visual information more than 60,000 times faster than plain text. 

By strategically including science figures in your papers, you'll make your research exciting, wide reaching, and memorable. 

Check out part 2 in our science figure series, "Top 10 Tips for Designing Graphical Abstracts." It illustrates (pun intended) the best practices for creating science figures so that you can make sure your paper is attention grabbing.

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About the Author

Scribendi Editing and Proofreading

Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing transformed into a great one. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained nearly 20 degrees. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.