Data visualization, bar naked: A free tool for creating interactive graphics

Tracey L. Weissgerber, Marko Savic, Stacey J. Winham, Dejana Stanisavljevic, Vesna D. Garovic, Natasa M. Milic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Although bar graphs are designed for categorical data, they are routinely used to present continuous data in studies that have small sample sizes. This presentation is problematic, as many data distributions can lead to the same bar graph, and the actual data may suggest different conclusions from the summary statistics. To address this problem, many journals have implemented new policies that require authors to show the data distribution. This paper introduces a free, web-based tool for creating an interactive alternative to the bar graph ( This tool allows authors with no programming expertise to create customized interactive graphics, including univariate scatterplots, box plots, and violin plots, for comparing values of a continuous variable across different study groups. Individual data points may be overlaid on the graphs. Additional features facilitate visualization of subgroups or clusters of non-independent data. A second tool enables authors to create interactive graphics from data obtained with repeated independent experiments ( tools are designedtoencourage exploration and critical evaluation ofthe data behind the summary statistics and may be valuable for promoting transparency, reproducibility, and open science in basic biomedical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20592-20598
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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