Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for September 2010

ASCO lifts embargo early on study of mammograms in women between 40 and 49

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The American Society of Clinical Oncology has lifted the embargo early on a study of mammograms in women aged 40 to 49 scheduled to be presented at an upcoming meeting. According to a memo to reporters sent out at 1:09 Eastern today:

The embargo has now lifted on abstract #67, “Effectiveness of population-based service screening with mammography for women age 40 to 49,” from the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium, taking place October 1-3. The lead author on this abstract is Hakan Jonsson, MD, PhD. You many now file any news articles related to this abstract only.

The embargo on all other abstracts from the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium will lift at 6:00 PM ET tonight.

The study was bound to get a fair amount of buzz. Its conclusion: Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Ivan Oransky

September 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What makes an embargo an embargo? Views from PNAS and Cell

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So if a study is published in the forest, and no one reads it, was it embargoed?

With apologies for that tortured metaphor, this email went out yesterday at 1:03 p.m. Eastern:

**Highlights from the 1 October print issue of Cell; the embargo on this article has lifted.**

-How Injured Nerves Grow Themselves Back:

Unlike nerves of the spinal cord, the peripheral nerves that connect our limbs and organs to the central nervous system have an astonishing ability to regenerate themselves after injury. Now, a new report in the October 1st issue of Cell, a Cell Press publication, offers new insight into how that healing process works.

My former colleague, Edyta Zielinska, flagged the notice for me. She didn’t know why the embargo had been lifted. Normally such emails mean someone has broken it. She also said it was the first announcement about the paper, which looked interesting to her.

I checked with Cathleen Genova, who handles press for the Cell Press journals: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Nobelist Linda Buck retracts two studies on olfactory networks — and the news is embargoed

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Well, it’s happened: The Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch worlds have collided. I had initially figured on two posts here, but it soon became clear that how journals were handling these retractions, using embargoes, was central to both. So this is being cross-posted on both blogs.

Linda Buck, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, has retracted two papers published in 2005 and 2006. Both retractions — one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and one in Science — appear online today.

The papers describe how nerves that carry information about scents connect from the nose to the olfactory bulb, where they are processed. They were published after the 2004 Nobel, which was for discoveries “of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system.”

The retractions come two and a half years after Buck retracted a 2001 Nature paper co-authored with Zhihua Zou, a post-doc in her then-Harvard lab. She’s been at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center since 2002, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. In 2008, Nature’s news section reported:

Harvard Medical School has formed an ad hoc committee to review the retraction, and Buck has asked the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to review two later publications on which Zou was the lead author. “It’s disappointing of course,” says Buck. “The important thing is to correct the literature.”

The PNAS and Science retractions are of those two later publications. The PNAS study was cited 61 times, and the Science study was cited 73 times, according to the Thomson Scientific Web of Knowledge.

The Science retraction reads: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Discovery News seems to have broken embargo on PLoS One Kosmoceratops horned dinosaurs paper

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The discovery of new dinosaur species always generates some buzz in paleontology circles and the reporters who cover the subject. A paper published today in PLoS One about a pair of new horned dinosaur finds will likely be no exception, and it appears to have spawned at least one embargo break. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Does Nature Precedings give authors an embargo policy loophole?

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courtesy Nature

The other day, Bob Finn flagged a post on the NASW-Talk discussion list from A’ndrea Elyse Messer, senior science and research information officer at Penn State.

Messer wrote, in part (quoted with her permission):

It appears that this free and open site totally blows away Nature’s own embargo policy.

I don’t know when it came into being, but has anyone had researchers post pre accepted papers on it and/or has anyone used it to write a story before publication?

Messer seemed to be raising an interesting embargo question about Precedings, which describes itself this way: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 22, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Google broke Carter memoir embargo last week

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If you missed Jimmy Carter on the Daily Show last night, no fear, you can watch the interview here. And if the interview makes you want to pick up Carter’s new memoir, White House Diary, you can do that here.

But last Wednesday, you could have read the first 50 pages of the book, thanks to Google. As the Washington Post’s Political Bookworm blog reported: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Did New York Times break Lasker embargo with AP story?

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The Lasker Awards announcement went out early this morning, as many news outlets ran their stories timed to the 12:01 a.m. embargo on the $250,000 award that is often looked to as a clue to future Nobel Prize winners. This year’s award went to Genentech’s Napoleone Ferrara for his work on the eye disease macular degeneration; Douglas Coleman, of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, and Jeffrey Friedman, of Rockefeller University, for their work on leptin, a hormone linked to appetite; and Oxford’s David Weatherall, for his work on the blood disorder thalassemia and other subjects.

But as a few Embargo Watch readers pointed out, the New York Times ran an Associated Press story on the awards a few hours before midnight. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized