The Editors' Notepad

The goal of this blog is to help EPIDEMIOLOGY authors produce papers that clearly and effectively communicate their science.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A TIDBIT by Jay Kaufman
As I mentioned in the editorial announcing this blog, I am open to ideas, great and small to blog about. This is one volunteered by Jay Kaufman:
 
“DataThief”
 
“DataThief III is a program to extract (reverse engineer) data points from a graph.  Typically, you scan a graph from a publication, load it into DataThief, and save the resulting coordinates, so you can use them in calculations or graphs that include your own data.”  [from the link]
 
What a nifty idea!  For many teaching examples, we’d like to analyze data presented in graphs and figures. It can be a painstaking process to read the data points off of the image, especially if the type is small or the resolution poor. We asked a colleague to do a validation run of test cases (where the original data were available). He reports that, while not completely user-friendly (getting the marker exactly on the data point isn't easy), the answers on a test case with known values were within rounding error. With some effort this could really come in handy.
 
 
Jan P Vandenbroucke
 
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