Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Did July 4 holiday mean independence from the PNAS embargo?

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Normally, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) embargo lifts every Monday at 3 p.m. Eastern. (The fact that some of the embargoed papers still aren’t available when the embargo lifts is a source of consternation for some.) But on Monday holidays such as Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, the embargo is moved to Tuesday at 3.

That was the case this Monday, July 5, which was a national US holiday because July 4 fell on Sunday. PNAS’ press packet duly noted the difference last week, right at the top:

EMBARGOED: NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE BEFORE:

Tuesday July 6 2010, 3:00 PM US Eastern Daylight Time / 7:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time

Wednesday July 7 2010, 4:00 AM Japanese Standard Time / 5:00 AM Australian Eastern Time

But the AP ran a story about a study of sports results and voting on Monday at the usual embargo time, along with a few other outlets.

PNAS didn’t send out an early embargo lift notice, so I wondered whether this would be considered a break, or just chalked up to the embargo date change, so I contacted the PNAS press office. They responded:

The PNAS Office was closed Monday, July 5, and we regret any confusion regarding our embargo over the holiday weekend.

So: Happy Embargo Independence Day. Embargo Watch will keep an eye out on Labor Day — September 6 this year — for any similar incidents.

Hat tip to Reuters Health intern Genevra Pittman, who saw the AP story as she was writing her own, which ran at the Tuesday embargo time.

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 8, 2010 at 9:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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