Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for May 2010

Book sales are embargoed, too: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

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Do you have your copy of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest yet? My wife does, having pre-ordered it from Barnes & Noble last month so it would arrive on May 25, the day it went on sale. Having seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo with her this past weekend, I now understand her enthusiasm.

But had she known, she could have ordered her copy from the giant Canadian bookstore Chapters Indigo, and it might have arrived several days earlier than the 25th. That’s because, despite the on-sale date, Chapters Indigo stores started selling the book on the 14th. (She grew up in the northern Midwest, so she reads Canadian fluently.)

Smaller Canadian bookstores, most of which don’t seem to have even received their copies by the 14th, cried foul, of course. As Bookninja reported (scroll down to the May 17 entry), the smaller stories said the book was embargoed until the 25th, and Chapters Indigo was undercutting them.

But was the book sale embargoed after all? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

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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Did this product announcement really need to be embargoed?

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So far on Embargo Watch, I’ve mostly focused on scientific information — journals or conferences, for example. (There have been exceptions.) But those are just a small percentage of all the embargoes in the world, as readers probably know.

If you cover technology or products of any kind, you’re probably subject to a constant deluge of press releases like this, which landed in my inbox early Monday morning: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

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With ASCO fever in full swing, the Journal of Clinical Oncology joins the short embargo parade

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If you were wondering how many metaphors I could mix in an Embargo Watch headline, I hope I’ve just fulfilled your wildest expectations. I can’t help it. I get exercised over short embargoes.

Yesterday, at 1:20 p.m. Eastern, to be precise, I received the Journal of Clinical Oncology’s (JCO) weekly email about articles published ahead of print. The embargo was of course listed: “The articles listed in this Publish Ahead of Print Notification are embargoed until May 24, 2010, at 4:00 PM (EDT).”

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a record-breaker: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 25, 2010 at 9:00 am

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Can you tweet from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory meetings?

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In genomics circles, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s (CSHL) annual Biology of Genomes meeting is a biggie. It consistently brings together the top players in genomics, and is always oversubscribed.

This year’s meeting, which was no exception, ran from May 11-15. A few days into the meeting, Discover‘s Kat McGowan emailed me. She had been following the many tweets from the meeting eagerly — hashtag #bg2010 — since she couldn’t attend. But she wondered whether all of those tweets violated CSHL’s media policy, which “requires all media attendees to obtain permission in advance from the relevant scientist prior to reporting any spoken or printed information gleaned from the meetings.”

That sounded like a good question to me, so I contacted CSHL’s media office, who put me in touch with executive director of courses and meetings David Stewart. David runs at least 50 such courses and meetings every year. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 24, 2010 at 9:00 am

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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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A ripe old mess on autism and milk- and wheat-free diet study embargo

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Nearly three months into the life of Embargo Watch, I shouldn’t be surprised by now that what seem like simple embargo incidents are anything but, once I start to peel back the layers of the onion.

Still, when Katie Hobson sent me a message on Twitter yesterday around 3 p.m. Eastern about coverage of a study whose embargo she thought wasn’t lifting until 4, I figured it was a simple embargo break. After all, the study involved autism, and I remembered what happened last October when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the journal Pediatrics embargoed data on the rate of the disorder.

Then, as recounted on the Association of Health Care Journalists’ Covering Health blog: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 20, 2010 at 9:00 am

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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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No, we didn’t break embargoes on those JAMA studies — but did others?

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For those of you who cover JAMA, or wait for its usual embargo time of 4 p.m. Eastern Tuesdays to devour media coverage of it, you may have been surprised by all the stories about studies in it that went live already today.

We covered three, for example: One on behavioral treatment for Tourette’s syndrome, one reporting that men get postpartum depression too, and one on a higher risk of depression among those with traumatic brain injuries.

They all went live at or near 10 a.m. Eastern, prompting one press officer to email us to ask whether we’d broken an embargo. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm

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