Data visualization – do we need a new paradigm in academic publishing?
Over the past few months I have been doing a lot of reading about data visualization because we are building dashboards for our clinical research enterprise. Essentially these dashboards will provide real-time or near real-time metrics for our operation. For example, we will have a dashboard for each of our studies that outlines the number of patients screened, enrolled, enrollment rate, etc. This data will be updated once an hour and will be displayed on a wall-mounted monitor in the Clinical and Translational Research Support Center office.
The problem is, many of these visualizations highlighted on the D3 website are unfamiliar in the biomedical academic world. Traditionally this discipline uses a fairly limited set of visualizations (e.g. bar charts, line charts, boxplots, etc.). So I suggest a paradigm shift in which biomedical researchers explore using more complicated visualizations that support interaction in their research and ALL publishers provide policies and infrastructures to support these visualizations. Naturally, over time a standard will need to develop as to the language and approach for interactive visualization so publishers do not have to support an excessive number of tools on their infrastructure. But, once that can happen, our research can be much more interactive and perhaps more illustrative to our readers.