3 October 2017
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 ( http://statistika.mfub.bg.ac.rs/interactive-dotplot/). 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 ( http://statistika.mfub.bg.ac.rs/interactive-repeated-experiments-dotplot/). These tools are designed to encourage exploration and critical evaluation of the data behind the summary statistics and may be valuable for promoting transparency, reproducibility, and open science in basic biomedical research.