Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Five years on, eLife finds the lure of the embargo too strong

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Five years ago, then-new journal eLife announced that it would eschew embargoes — and my nemesis, the Ingelfinger Rule — in favor of unfettered scientific communication. I applauded the move — which I had some input into — then.

And for more than four years, as best I can tell, the journal stuck to that promise. But not in 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 20, 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The American Diabetes Association seems to be confused about what “public” means

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Last month, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) stepped in it a bit.

In a move that predictably richocheted around Twitter — and into the medical trade press — the ADA politely, but publicly, asked attendees of its recent annual meeting to take down photos they’d posted of conference slides. Tweets were fine, as long as they didn’t include pictures of slides.

The policy — a version of “freely available, but embargoed,” drew widespread and deserved criticism. In response, the ADA’s Linda Cann defended the policy, but said it would be reevaluated: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 17, 2017 at 9:30 am

Embargo on study of how to retain women engineering students lifted early after break

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The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) lifted the embargo early Friday on a paper, after a news outlet broke it three days before it was scheduled to lift.

From an email sent to the journal’s media list Friday: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 21, 2017 at 7:48 pm

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Minnesota Public Radio News breaks embargo on study of fresh water lake salinization

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The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) lifted the embargo early Monday on a study of fresh water lakes, after a news outlet broke the embargo.

From an email that out to reporters Monday about four hours before the scheduled 3 p.m. Eastern embargo: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

You say tomato, I say embargo: A study ripens too early, as magazine breaks an embargo

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tomato

Via CC BY-SA 3.0 license (click for original)

Here’s one story that needed more time to ripen.

An email from the Science press team sent about 40 minutes before the 2 p.m. scheduled embargo lift of this week’s issue: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 26, 2017 at 1:41 pm

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Following heavy criticism, FDA says controversial embargo policy is “not to be used under any circumstance”

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Several months after a damning expose demonstrating that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was violating its own official policy by using a controversial embargo practice, the agency has said it will no longer use so-called “close-hold embargoes.”

Such embargo agreements restrict whom reporters can talk to before embargoes lift, unlike standard embargoes in which journalists can share information for comment as long as their sources understand it is under embargo. I’ve called this an attempt to turn reporters into stenographers.

In a letter today to the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), outgoing FDA Acting Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs Jason Young acknowledges that at times, the agency’s policy “was not adequately followed.” And Young — whose last day at the FDA is today, ahead of the Presidential inauguration — writes (bolding his) that  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

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Daily Mail breaks embargo on gonorrhea-killing mouthwash study in BMJ journal

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daily-mailSexually Transmitted Infections, a journal published by the BMJ, has lifted the embargo early on a study of Listerine and gonorrhea after the Daily Mail ran a story 24 hours before the scheduled embargo.

From an email sent to The BMJ’s press list this morning: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 20, 2016 at 10:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized