Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

A new record in short embargoes

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new record-breaker in the short embargo race. It’s an entrant that was in second place with a four-hour embargo until just a few weeks ago, when the Journal of Clinical Oncology took the lead with an embargo lasting 2 hours and 41 minutes.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) emailed its press list today at 2:34 p.m. Eastern, just 2 hours and 26 minutes before this piece by White House Office of Management and Budget director Peter R. Orszag and special advisor Ezekiel J. Emanuel went live.

NEJM responded very quickly to my email about why the time was so short, which I always appreciate. The piece went out as soon as the files were ready, the journal said, and they have gone with similar notice in the past about Perspective pieces like this one. I should note that such articles are generally far less dense than clinical studies, and are easier to grasp quickly.

I won’t repeat my arguments about my inability to square short embargoes with the claim that embargoes help journalists write better stories, since I’ve made them several times now.

I should come up with a prize of some sort, maybe a stopwatch.  It may get to a point at which papers are just being embargoed after they’ve already been published.


Written by Ivan Oransky

June 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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