Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for the ‘freely available but embargoed’ Category

Anger, confusion as Popular Science inadvertently broke blue planet embargo

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Ethan Siegel was not pleased last Wednesday: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

Finally, some honesty! Journal: “rationale trumps logic” for our “freely available but embargoed” policy

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Last week, I was going through studies in the Journal of Urology — a journal I like to cover for its rigor and because it publishes a lot of papers that question the status quo in urology, despite being owned by the American Urological Association — and I saw something on “Accepted Manuscripts” that I hadn’t seen before:

All articles printed in The Journal of Urology® are embargoed until 3 PM ET the day they are published as corrected proofs online. Studies cannot be publicized as accepted manuscripts or uncorrected proofs.

This notice appeared on studies that were quite clearly posted online. And that meant this was an embargo of freely available material.

So I wrote to the journal’s editor, and the AUA press office: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology clarifies its “pre-published online” embargo policy

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The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) will hold its 72nd annual meeting in Raleigh, NC in October. Everyone loves dinosaurs, so if past experience is any indication, there will be plenty of press coverage of the meeting.

With that in mind, the SVP outlined its embargo policy on page seven of the program PDF: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

Sugar makes embargoes stupid, and doesn’t do wonders for a press release, either

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Sugar makes rats stupid, and apparently studies about sugar render people unable to handle embargoes properly.

A message today, about a Journal of Physiology study about how sugar affects learning in rats, from UCLA media relations staffer Elaine Schmidt: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine plays “freely available but embargoed” game — with a Groundhog Day twist

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The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s (SMFM’s) annual meeting was last week in Dallas, and, as many societies do, the press officers working for “the pregnancy meeting” put out a number of releases about what would be presented there.

But unlike many societies, who understand what an embargo means, the SMFM decided it would be fine to post those releases publicly before the meeting, but call them “embargoed.”

That left Rachael Rettner, a former student of mine, a bit perplexed. So she sent me a message, and I in turn sent Bendure PR a note to ask for clarification. The response didn’t actually clear anything up: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm

What should physics writers do about the arXiv “freely available but embargoed” problem?

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Photo via hetemeel.com

Imagine you’re a writer covering physics. (Or, if you’re a writer covering physics, just be yourself for the moment.) Now imagine you came across a paper called “Disruption of a Proto-Planetary Disk by the Black Hole at the Milky Way Centre” that got your mind’s juices flowing. The abstract looks really interesting, so you’re about to click on the PDF link when you see this: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

Radiological society lifts video games-violence study embargo early after “break,” but abstract was freely available online

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In what has become a familiar refrain on Embargo Watch, a scientific society is trying to claim that a news organization that never agreed to the society’s embargo violated its policy because a study was freely available online before the embargo lifted. Here’s a message sent this morning by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

November 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Astronomy meeting reveals the real problem with the Ingelfinger Rule

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Eris and Dysnomia, courtesy NASA

Embargo Watch readers have probably noticed by now that I’ve become far more concerned about the role of the Ingelfinger Rule in controlling the flow of scientific information than I am with embargoes per se. I’m still exasperated with inconsistent and bizarre embargo policies, but it’s the specter of Ingelfinger that I think looms larger.

So I went on high alert last week when Emily Lakdawalla, a blogger for the Planetary Society and winner of the Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award, sent me this tweet:

@ivanoransky I thought of you today when B. Sicardy presented cool Eris results @DPS mtg today but said we can’t discuss b/c Nature embargo

I asked for more details, saying that didn’t sound consistent with Nature‘s embargo policy, which explicitly states that scientists can present at meetings, even if journalists are present, as long as they don’t court reporters’ attention.

Emily responded: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

EULAR suffers an “embargo break” because their abstracts are freely available online

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A news outlet allegedly broke an embargo last month on an abstract being presented at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) next week. According to a notice on the EULAR site:

The EULAR abstracts have recently been subject to a serious embargo breach by a media outlet.

EULAR treats all breaches with the utmost seriousness and the offending party has been suspended from participation in the upcoming EULAR Congress 2011, London, including withdrawal of access to all related Press Office Services.

All media are reminded to strictly adhere to the EULAR abstracts embargo regulations, whereby no information may be reproduced before 00.01 Central European Time on Wednesday 25 May 2011.

So who broke the embargo and got punished? A representative from Cohn & Wolfe, the PR firm handling media relations for the conference, told Embargo Watch they “made a decision not to broadcast the outlet.”

Based on Google News and Google Realtime searches, however, it appears that it was an April 21st story about Pfizer’s tofacitinib Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

Society vs. Society? American Thoracic Society breaks American Heart Association embargo

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Since Embargo Watch was launched early last year, there has been at least one case of an unintentional embargo break by a scientific society that posted their own material publicly too early. Today, we bring you the case of a scientific society that has broken another society’s embargo.

This went out at about 1:30 Eastern today from the American Heart Association: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm


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