Friday, May 23, 2008

ISAC Wrap-up Part 1

Planning to submit a paper to J. Exp. Med. anytime soon? Well then you'll want to pay attention to the new guidelines generated by the Data Presentation Standards Committee and adopted by J. Exp. Med. What the cytometry field has been noticing for quite a while is the amount of publications in high-end journals with really poor flow cytometry figures. It's not that the data is bad, or doesn't support the authors conclusions, it's just that the figure is annotated so poorly, and the methods written so vaguely that it's nearly impossible for anyone to try and repeat complicated analyses. Being the premier flow cytometry authority, ISAC has taken it upon itself to lay down some guidelines to assist authors in properly presenting the necessary information to describe their flow cytometric data. A member of the Data Standards Committee, Dr. Mario Roederer, shared the conclusions of the committee this week at the ISAC Congress. Here are a few examples from the guidelines. Once a comprehensive list is created, I'll post them for the group to see.

Author must list the instrument(s) used, the laser(s) used for excitation, and the filter(s) used for emission. This will be done in an excel template that will be available from ISAC or J. Exp. Med.

Axis on plots must have the reagent and fluorescence labelled (ex. CD3-FITC).

The number of events in a plot must be displayed in the plot or figure legend.

The frequency of populations must be displayed on the plot or in a table

Graph-types should be used consistently throughout.

You MUST show the entire gating tree for your figure as an example. Back-gating analysis is the best way to show this. This can (and probably should) be in the supplemental data portion of the manuscript.

You must also state how you drew your gates. For example, did you draw them based on unstained cells, or an isotype control, or and FMO control, or did you just subjectively draw it around a population.

These are a few of the guidelines that will be implemented soon. J. Exp. Med. has decided to adopt them sooner rather than later, but we anticipate more and more journals will begin to require this information. If you have any questions, or need help filling in the appropriate information, the flow can certainly help. We will try to provide filled out examples for each of the instruments so that you can simply modify them for your use. We'll provide more info as it becomes available.