Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

How the U.S. Army is like some medical journals

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I’ve been writing somewhat frequently, it seems, about journals and medical societies that insist on embargoing information that is already freely available. It’s a puzzling practice, to me and others.

But a news story last week caught my eye, and suggests it’s possible that these organizations are taking a cue from a far afield: The U.S. military. The New York Times reported:

Carol Rosenberg, who was barred along with three other journalists from reporting on the Guantánamo military commissions after she identified an Army interrogator whose name was already public, will return to cover hearings next week, her lawyer said Friday.

That’s right: Carol was sent home from Guantánamo for reporting something in 2009 that was already in the public domain, in this case in the Toronto Star in 2008. More details here.

It would obviously be overreaching to call journals’ embargo policies unconstitutional, as several news outlets have termed the Pentagon’s policy. But it does beg questions about whether they make sense.

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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