It seems that following on the tracks of Cell Press, which is reducing the maximum number of supplemental figures to one per manuscript figure, now J. Neuroscience is doing away with it altogether. Hooray?
I agree that it is not a very good thing at times that the amount of Suppl Figs has risen (or sunk) from useful to occasionally ridiculous (20+ figures!). Yes, it is useful to be able to add a few control experiments, or the validation of a mouse knockout, and a good place to put especially large datasets, but now it’s become an excuse to either bury data that isn’t super solid (in hopes that reviewers won’t pay too much attention), or from the other side, an open invitation for reviewers to ask for more (It’s like a reverse Oliver Twist: “Can I have more please?”; “MORE!?”).
And for the most part, it’s a rather annoying exercise to have to go download the suppl materials. Why can’t journals not put the supplementary pdf together with the main paper pdf? I do it all the time, it’s a simple feature in Acrobat, so is that so much to ask for from a publisher? Cell Press does it, Nature Cell Biology does it, but that’s about it.
So, Supplementary/Supplemental figures/data? Good, bad, ugly? Discuss. Perhaps we can help influence some journals that are paying attention.