Published October 13, 2021 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Rainbow colour maps remain widely used in the geosciences

  • 1. University of Bristol


This dataset is the result of a systematic survey of scientific publication to investigate the extent to which rainbow colour maps are used in geoscience publications. Papers were surveyed from five journals - Earth System Dynamics (ESD), Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), Ocean Science (OS), Solid Earth (SE) and The Cryosphere (TC) - for the years 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020.

The final data set includes the pre-existing Stoelzle and Stein (2021) survey data for HESS, which is independently available at (Stoelzle, 2021).

All papers (n=2638) were classified according to the type of colour encoding used.

year = year of publication (YYYY)
title = full paper title
authors = list of authors seperated by semi-colon
n_authors = number of authors
col_code = color-issue classification (see below)
volume = Journal volume
start_page = first page of paper (where available)
end_page = last page of paper (where available)
base_url = url to access the paper on the journal website 
filename = file name of the PDF version of the paper

Color classification is stored in the col_code variable with:

0 = Colour visualisations with no colour issues
1 = At least one visualisation with red-green issues
2 = At least one visualisation with a rainbow colour map
bw = Black and white paper



Files (746.5 kB)

Name Size Download all
746.5 kB Preview Download

Additional details


GlobalMass – Global land ice, hydrology and ocean mass trends 694188
European Commission