Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Cell Metabolism comes close, but doesn’t beat NEJM for short embargo record

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Sorry, Cell Metabolism.

The journal may not have been trying, but it didn’t quite beat the New England Journal of Medicine‘s short embargo record of 65 minutes, set last two weeks ago.

Yesterday, at 10:44 Eastern time, Cell Metabolism sent out a release topped with the following:

**Highlights from the 4 August print issue of Cell Metabolism; strictly embargoed til 3 August at 12 Noon ET.**

In this Issue:

-Chili peppers come with blood pressure benefits
-Disrupted circadian rhythm may cause triglycerides to rise

That left 76 minutes to figure out whether these papers were worth covering, report on them, and write a story.

I can’t find an embargo policy on Cell Press’s website, except for this set of instructions for authors that mentions embargoes, so I’m not sure if Cell’s journals go out of their way to say that embargoes are in place to help reporters do a better job, as NEJM does. Cell uses EurekAlert! to distribute embargoed studies, so its policy probably tracks fairly closely with that of AAAS/Science.

The chili pepper story did, not surprisingly, still garner some press coverage despite the short embargo. All of the stories were short summaries, as far as I could see. Ditto the circadian rhythms-triglycerides study.

I asked Cell Press’ press office whether there was a reason for the short embargo, and was told that the person who handles media relations for all of Cell Press’ journals — there are 28, if you click on “change journals” here — had just returned from vacation and was catching up.

Short embargo or not, reporters in short-staffed newsrooms can probably empathize.

Thanks to an Embargo Watch tipster for pointing this one out.

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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