Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Posts Tagged ‘embargo breaks

Menopause study embargo lifted early after Sunday Times story, but Jonathan Leake notes abstracts were freely available

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Ah, vacation. That protected time when you don’t check your email or voicemail, and you don’t blog. Well, I kept to that last bit, anyway, while traipsing around Turkey and trying unsuccessfully to avoid Turkish Viagra.

But embargo news doesn’t stop in its tracks just because Embargo Watch is on vacation. In the next few days, I’ll use posts to catch up on that news.

First up: On Sunday, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) press officer Emma Mason sent out the following message: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 30, 2010 at 9:15 am

*Assisted fertility-birth abnormalities embargo lifted early after Sunday Times story but “it appears that they are not entirely to blame this time”

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The Sunday Times has broken another embargo, this one of a study on a higher risk of birth abnormalities among babies conceived through assisted fertility treatments. The study is scheduled to be presented tomorrow (Monday) at the European Society of Human Genetics meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, and was embargoed until a minute after midnight Central European Time Monday. The Sunday Times story, by Jonathan Leake, was posted sometime late Saturday.

However, according to from Mary Rice, who is handling media relations on the study, there’s more to the embargo break. In an email sent to her press list at 5:34 a.m. Eastern today, she wrote: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 13, 2010 at 9:05 am

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CNN breaks embargo on stress and breast cancer study in Clinical Cancer Research

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The embargo should be lifting in two minutes, at 1 p.m. Eastern, on a study in Clinical Cancer Research which found that lowering stress among women with breast cancer was linked to better outcomes. But an item about the study went live on CNN’s Paging Dr. Gupta blog at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Jeff Grabmeier, director of research communications at Ohio State University, where the study’s lead researcher works, emailed me about the break a bit before noon. He said a local reporter had come across the CNN item. Jeff called the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the journal’s publisher, and a press officer there told him that they’d contact CNN to see if they could take down the item. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Another government agency upholds embargo, on supplement safety report, despite a New York Times exclusive

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Remember the President’s Cancer Panel report on environmental causes of cancer, the one a PR agency gave The New York Times‘ Nick Kristof to run with while holding every other reporter to an embargo?

Well, a similar thing happened this morning: New York Times reporter Gardiner Harris had an exclusive on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the safety of herbal supplements, but the Senate committee where that report is being delivered this afternoon told everyone else it was still embargoed until 2 p.m. Eastern, as originally planned. From Gardiner’s story: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

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Science Venter study on “synthetic cell” embargo broken

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When it rains, it pours, at least when it comes to embargo breaks, apparently. While I was conducting this interview with Daniel Carlat between noon and one today, two notices about early embargo lifts went out. One was about this ASCO Rituxan break, and here’s the other:

The AAAS Office of Public Programs is lifting the embargo, effective immediately, on the Science article “Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome,” by D. Gibson and colleagues, because this information has entered the public domain.

A summary of the article follows, and a copy of the manuscript is available at http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sci/. The embargo is being lifted so that reporters may freely publish their coverage now. The rest of this week’s SciPak content will remain under embargo until 2 pm US ET today, 20 May.

I should note that at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, when I went to the Science site, all of the material from the May 21 issue seemed to be live. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

ASCO rituximab (Rituxan) lymphoma embargo broken

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It’s ASCO time, with the embargo on most conference abstracts lifting tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern, and the media circus has already tossed off one embargo break, according to an email sent out at 12:20 Eastern:

Due to an embargo break, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has lifted the embargo on the abstract titled, “Rituximab maintenance for 2 years in patients with untreated high tumor burden follicular lymphoma after response to immunochemotherapy.”

Reporters are free to publish stories on this study, which was supposed to be embargoed until 6:00 PM (EDT) today. A media summary of the study is copied below, along with the abstract.  ASCO is investigating the reasons for this embargo break.

I’ve learned that a release about the study went out early this morning on PR Newswire. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm

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Yup, GMA did break that JAMA postpartum depression in men study embargo

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Yesterday, I asked whether  an ABC Good Morning America story on men developing postpartum depression, posted about 9 a.m. Eastern, had broken a JAMA embargo.

The answer is yes, according to an email just sent out by JAMA’s director of media relations, Jann Ingmire:

The ABC-TV program, “Good Morning America” broke the JAMA embargo yesterday morning (May 18) by promoting a study that was to be released later in the day. I contacted the producers at GMA who told me that their story on depression and new fathers had been finished weeks ahead of this airing and they were just using the JAMA study as a “hook” to finally run it. The story did not contain any data from the study. They also claimed to be unaware that it is a violation of our embargo policy to promote a JAMA study before publication. It is. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm

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Shocking: British press breaks embargo on IARC cell phones-brain tumor study

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I probably should have written this post last week, so it would be ready to push live as soon as someone inevitably broke the embargo on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) new study on cell phone use and cancer. But I didn’t — Naivete? Misplaced optimism? — which means I’m spending part of Sunday morning doing it.

The study by IARC, a World Health Organization agency, was embargoed until 1:30 a.m. Paris time on May 18th, or 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Monday the 17th. The first story I’ve found on Google News was posted by the Telegraph in the UK at 8 a.m.  BST Saturday, nearly three days before the embargo. A number of others followed; by 10:30 a.m. Eastern Sunday, there were at least six, plus a press release from the Mobile Manufacturers Forum.

Here’s Reuters’ coverage, posted after all of the others made it unreasonable to continue to uphold the embargo, which the IARC has not officially lifted. The study, as are any of this subject, is likely to draw a lot of attention, although as my colleague Kate Kelland reports, the results are inconclusive.

Writing about studies the week they’re going to be published is nothing new for the UK’s Sunday papers, of course; this was the subject of a good discussion on an early Embargo Watch post. Still, until we know which papers had access to the embargoed IARC material, we can’t say whether this was a break deserving of sanctions, or just one that should have led to the IARC lifting the embargo early so that everyone who agreed to it weren’t the ones being punished.

I’ve emailed the IARC press office, based in Paris, and will update if I hear anything. In the meantime, I will leave you with another Frenchman expressing shock, courtesy of IMDb:

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!

That’s from Casablanca, of course.

See an update, posted Monday the 17th.

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

No sanctions, but Straits Times perpetrator “taken to task” over overtime-heart disease embargo break

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The embargo break earlier this week of a study in the European Heart Journal linking overtime to heart disease was unintentional, and there will be no sanctions against the breaker, the Straits Times. That’s according to an email just sent out by Emma Mason, who handles press for the journal and others published by Oxford University Press:

I have now had time to properly investigate the circumstances surrounding the broken embargo on the European Heart Journal story earlier this week (overtime and heart disease). Having talked to AFP it has become clear that it was not their fault. Their story was put out with the correct embargo on it, but one of their clients, Straits Times (Singapore), made a mistake and published the story early. AFP have spoken to Straits Times over this; ST have assured AFP that it was a mistake, that the perpetrator has been taken to task about it, and the rest of the team has been reminded about the fact that “embargoes are sacred”.

In view of the fact that a) it was not AFP’s fault, and b) they have had discussions with Straits Times, I have decided to take no further action over the embargo break.

I have to ask: Given that this was Singapore, was caning involved? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 13, 2010 at 2:01 pm

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Straits Times breaks European Heart Journal embargo with an AFP story, this one on overtime and heart disease

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This just in from Emma Mason, who handles press for a number of Oxford University Press journals including the European Heart Journal:

Due to an embargo break by AFP, I am lifting the embargo on the EHJ press release on overtime and heart disease with immediate effect. It had been embargoed go 00.05 hrs BST on Wednesday 12 May, or 23.05 hrs GMT on Tuesday 11 May. I have pasted the press release below to help you identify it.

I will let you know in due course about the action to be taken against AFP.

My apologies for the inconvenience that I know this will cause you.

Here’s the AFP story, via the Straits Times. And here’s my colleague Ben Hirschler‘s version for Reuters, posted after Emma lifted the embargo.

The agency may be in for sanctions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 11, 2010 at 8:46 am


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