Data storytelling will get more citations for researchers?

I spent the weekend creating the following infographic (a version of soon to appear in JISCs #mobile1st report). What struck me as interesting during this process was the fact that I was working with very reputable data, and yet my methods for visualizing this data were very focused on the storytelling aspects of this chart (see below for the various drafts I iterated through to get to this version).

Increase of international student tuition fees (vs national student tuition) in the UK per year and student enrollment.

What strikes me as a bit awkward in the coming scholarly revolution is how easy it is to manipulate data in the visual. Will we not see researchers employing similar data storytelling skills (in the form of infographics like the above ‘bubbles’ atop a bar chart?) for the purpose of getting more people to click, link and download their paper based on what they see on the first page (abstract + image)?

NB I’d highly recommend you read the JISC/OCLC report on Gen Y researcher reading habits: “Bouncing, Chunking and Squirrelling”. To grossly paraphrase this report: the researcher who puts a map or infographic on the first page of their research article, significantly improves their chance of their research being ‘squirrelled’ away by readers, which leads to more citations, which leads to increased researcher reputation.

My question to you is: do these types of hybrid-(info)graphs undermine the scholarly process? Perhaps even employing marketing techniques to the data so it is more appealing to the reader?

On the other side of the coin, is this article where journalists are feeling they are losing their creative storytelling abilities because of ‘data journalism’: http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/31/data-is-not-killing-creativity-its-just-changing-how-we-tell-stories/

Some other attempts at various infographics of the same data as the chart at the top of this post:

This one (as opposed to the one at the top of this post) doesn’t use logarithmic data but does place the trends in proportion to one another…

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~ by dfflanders on April 2, 2013.

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