Welcome To Nightingale

Introducing the Data Visualization Society’s new publication

Jason Forrest
Jul 15 · 7 min read

WeWe are so excited to announce Nightingale: the new journal of the Data Visualization Society (DVS)! Created in partnership with Medium, we’ll publish the best articles on current issues in data visualization for professionals and a general audience.

Nightingale will bring you high-quality articles each day covering many of the applications of data visualization — including education, entertainment, history, sports, best practices, new techniques, and any other form of visual information design we find compelling. We’ll host interviews with thought leaders and interesting people from the DVS community and beyond. Like all adventurers, we want to explore the unexplored, to look to the past and dream of the future. It’s exciting!

Why is it called Nightingale?

We named the new publication after Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), a pioneering British social reformer and nurse who innovated the Nightingale rose chart. Florence Nightingale was a passionate statistician and the first woman to be voted into the Royal Statistical Society.

Florence Nightingale, photo by Henry Hering, late 1856–7, ©National Portrait Gallery, London

While Nightingale’s name is commonplace, her contribution to data visualization remains less well known outside of the data visualization community. By publishing under her name, it helps us to keep an expansive view of what data visualization can be and continues our focus on broadening our practice and worldview.

Our desire for exploring the art and science of information design can be seen in the multifaceted nature of data visualization. Our work sits at the intersection of visual design, information design, data science, communication theory, and statistics; yet it is applied across science, business, healthcare, education, and art.

While the word Nightingale may not conjure up bar charts on the first utterance, it provides an element of poetry to inspire our audience to dig a little deeper. What better way to celebrate her legacy than to build the core of our publication’s identity on such a beautiful name and amazing life?

For more about Florence Nightingale, here are a few follow-up articles exploring Florence’s data visualization work in detail. Each one is amazing:

Partnering with Medium supports our mission in two big ways:

First, by partnering with Medium, our articles get premium promotion through Medium’s content-sharing algorithms and channels. This allows us to support the Data Visualization Society’s mission to “support the growth, refinement, and expansion of data visualization knowledge regardless of the expertise level of our members” by getting our members more exposure.

Secondly, finding a way to compensate our writers, editors, and illustrators has been important for our team. That’s why we’re pleased to announce that, starting July 15th, our partnership with Medium will allow Nightingale to pay all our writers, editors, and illustrators.

The financial support from Medium will also allow us to hire a managing editor to build a larger readership and help our writers create their best content. Since everyone involved with the publication will be compensated for their efforts, it allows us to raise the standards of what we’ll publish.

All articles previously published with the DVS Medium publication will not change. They will remain exactly the same.

How to get involved as a writer or editor:

  • If you are interested in writing for us, just drop any of the editors (listed below) a message or email us: admin@datavisualizationsociety.com
  • If you are interested in applying for the job of Managing Editor, the job position is here! (GoogleDoc)
  • If you are a member of our Slack community, feel free to join #dvs-writers to hang out with the other writers!
  • For more information on what we look for in our articles, check this out:

Join the Data Visualization Society!

Joining the Data Visualization Society is very easy! Follow this link, fill out an optional survey, then you’ll be added to our Slack community and email lists!

Notes for our Data Visualization Society Members:

WW the Data Visualization Society was founded, Medium was the platform that the co-founders used to communicate with the new group. The rapid growth of our community made Slack a valuable resource for conversation, iteration, and instant feedback, while the Medium publication evolved into a space to amplify the voices of our members. The publication and group were initially synonymous, but as both channels became more established, we noticed a shift occurring. In an effort to continue elevating those voices, we reached out to Medium to see if we could make it something more.

Why has idea evangelism become our focus?

We always intended the DVS Medium publication to become a first-class publication to share the incredible wealth of knowledge from our community. When we discovered that many of our conversations on Slack were slowly being hidden by Slack’s free workspace limitation, we chose to temporarily use our Medium publication to store and distill those conversations. As this was never our main objective, nor the best platform to do this, we are now exploring alternative methods for this.

This allows Nightingale to focus on what DVS member Sarah Eisele-Dyrli calls “idea evangelism”. By providing a greater reach and audience for the ideas and voices of our members, it increases their recognition, which in turn leads to new opportunities.

What is the relationship between the DVS Slack and Nightingale?

We’ll certainly still have articles that summarize topics and discussions from the DVS Slack community, and ideas from our Slack community will inspire or be quoted in Nightingale articles. Each article is required to give credit to other members for their ideas, as we feature in our writer’s guide.

It’s also important to note that Nightingale is also only one avenue for our members to express themselves. Other avenues for supporting members in their professional development are being discussed and will be announced by other DVS committees.

How does Nightingale further the DVS Mission if it is inside of Medium’s paywall?

We understand that free and open access to information and resources is important to any community, not just ours. Medium only promotes content that is behind its paywall, but we will continue to offer our content free to members of the DVS community. Here’s how:

Three ways DVS members can view Nightingale content for free:

  • We’ll share links in our Slack community that allow DVS members to bypass the paywall.
  • A spreadsheet (Gdoc) will be provided to members with links for free access to all articles.
  • We regularly send out DVS emails with links to the free version of the articles directly to your inbox (if you signed up for the email list).

While we understand that having to bypass Medium’s paywall with special links is not a perfect solution, it allows us to gain the benefits of our partnership while still offering free access to Nightingale for all DVS members.

DVS membership is currently free. If you are an educator and want to share our content with your students, getting them to join the Data Visualization Society would allow them to access not only the whole Nightingale archive but also the opportunity to be involved in a vibrant, growing community.

Where does the money go?

Starting on July 15th, 2019, we will pay the writers for every article we publish. We will hire a managing editor to run the daily business of the publication, and our editors will also be paid a small monthly fee. Our publisher, Elijah Meeks, and I (editor-in-chief, Jason Forrest), will not receive any payment. The DVS will also allocate 15% of the funds from the partnership towards building and expanding other aspects of our society, such as mentorship programs, events, and ongoing costs.

What if this whole Medium thing doesn’t work out?

Our contract with Medium runs for six months, which we view as a “test and learn” phase. If we find that the relationship isn’t working for either party, we can change our approach. While we want Nightingale articles to remain on Medium, there are not any contractual obstacles if we move in a different direction at the end of this period. Medium puts copyright in the hands of the writers, so any concerns about who owns the content should not be connected to our Medium partnership.

We will also host a retrospective in four months to collect feedback from members and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. If you are interested in joining such a group, please contact the editors.

Please tell us what you think!

We love to hear from our readers in any way they feel appropriate. Our entire editorial team is passionate about promoting new voices, new ideas, finding new avenues to advance our work, and recognizing our membership. If you have an idea to share, then please do so. We’re here for you!

~ Jason Forrest, Editor in Chief

Special thanks to my publisher, Elijah Meeks, our editors: Alyssa Bell, Duncan Geere, Georges Hattab, Mara Averick, Noëlle Rakotondravony, and Senthil Natarajan. Most of all, special thanks to our writers! Without you, we’d not be here today!


The Journal of the Data Visualization Society

Thanks to Elijah Meeks, Duncan Geere, Alyssa Bell, and RJ Andrews

Jason Forrest

Written by

Electronic Musician, UX Designer and Contemporary Art enthusiast. https://twitter.com/Jasonforrestftw Contact:https://www.jasonforrestftw.com/


The Journal of the Data Visualization Society

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