How to create an interactive scientific plot online

In my previous post I showed a fully interactive online graph of one of the plots in my recent paper on leadership in sticklebacks. In this follow-up post I will explain how to easily create such an interactive plot yourself. To be able to do this you will need some experience with the R-language and ideally with ggplot2.

First create an account at plot.ly, which is free. After you have created your account, go to “settings” and click on “generate API key”. You will need your username and this key to link your account to R.

Now you have your account ready start-up R and set-up the R workspace:

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Public engagement: create interactive scientific plots online

I’m always looking for ways to make my science more interactive with the public. What better way then to visualise your data and to make them dynamic and playable! I recently found out about Plot.ly, a website that enables you to create very beautiful plots that are fully customisable and embeddable and allow manipulation and interaction from your website visitors.

What I particularly like is its link with ggplot2 in R. With some simple lines of code you can easily make a plot you created for your scientific publication interactive and online. As an example, I will create an online interactive version of one of the plots in my recent paper on leadership in sticklebacks:

Here is the online interactive version. Hover over the point and try to drag the plot or zoom in and out:

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