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July 27, 2015

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | SCI-NEWS 10

Principal Investigator still not pleased with latest iteration of Figure 2

BOULDER, CO – Frustrations have been rising in the Boyle Lab at the University of Colorado as the principal investigator, Dr. Patricia Boyle, has rejected the latest iteration of Figure 2 in a manuscript that was supposed to be submitted one month ago. “Sure, it looks good on my desktop computer,” Boyle said in regards to the figure, “but I just don’t think it will transfer well to a mobile device like my iPad or iPhone.”

This is the seventh version of Figure 2—a simple dot graph with error bars and a map inset—to be turned down by Boyle. Lance Jacobs, the Figure’s creator and third-year graduate student in the Boyle Lab, was understandably upset at this most recent rejection. Jacobs stated that Boyle requested the map inset to be smaller, to which he complied, only to discover that Boyle now believes the map is too small to view on a mobile device. “It’s not like I have more important things to do, like maintaining her cell cultures or prepping figures for her upcoming conference presentation, or, god forbid, work on my own goddamn research,” Jacobs was heard to be mumbling.

Jacobs went on to describe the various changes requested by Boyle, which included: a conversion from color to black & white and back again, a flipping of the x and y axes, the use of standard error bars over standard deviation bars, and even a request to use a Serif font for the axis labels.

Perhaps more upset is the manuscript’s primary author, fifth-year graduate student Sheila Jones. According to Jones, the amount of time spent fussing over Figure 2 has surpassed the amount of time spent on actually conducting the experiments detailed in the paper. This delay, claims Jones, has hurt her job prospects: “I was hoping to have this paper listed as ‘submitted’ on my CV, but now it looks like I’ll just have to add it to the ever-growing ‘Manuscripts in preparation’ section.”

Despite the ire expressed by her students, Boyle remained unsympathetic. “I remember when I had to re-draw—and I literally mean re-draw, we didn’t have fancy programs like Photoshop back then—a graph for my advisor a dozen times. Grad students today don’t know just how easy they have it.”




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