GC Insights: Rainbow colour maps remain widely used in the geosciences

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Rainbow colour maps are known to be problematic yet remain widely used in scientific communication. This study extends work by Stoelzle and Stein (2021) to investigate the extent of their use in geoscience publications. It is found that over half (55 %) of all papers surveyed from six geoscience journals from the years 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020 (n = 2,638) contained at least one visualisation that uses rainbow or red-green colour schemes and are therefore potentially misleading and colour inaccessible. Recent changes to the submission guidelines for all EGU journals would seem to place greater responsibility in the future with editors and reviewers to identify and correct colour issues as part of the review process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83–86
Number of pages6
JournalGeoscience Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support. The work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 694188 (GlobalMass).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Richard M. Westaway.

Structured keywords

  • GlobalMass


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