Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for December 2010

Top Embargo Watch posts of 2010, and a short wish list for 2011

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Bronze statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, by sculptor Lorenzo Coullaut Valera, at the Plaza de España in Madrid. Photo by Zaqarbal via Wikimedia

At the risk of committing self-plagiarism, I’m doing the same thing here that I just did on Embargo Watch’s sister blog, Retraction Watch. (I’m even using the same picture.)

Embargo Watch is the older sibling, having launched in late February. It too has kept me busy, with 167 posts, also about four per week.

Here are the top five posts, followed by three wishes: Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Ivan Oransky

December 31, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

So when does that journal’s embargo lift, anyway? A site that will tell you

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Photo by trippingbobcat via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/25mike25/

When I started Embargo Watch, one of the things I thought about doing was compiling a list of every journal’s embargo times and leaving it on the blog somehow. But every time I started to do it, I’d throw my hands up in the air because so many journals were posting advance online material every few days that it seemed hopeless.

Lucky for me, and for Embargo Watch readers, Robin Lloyd is more persistent than I am. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 30, 2010 at 10:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

La Razon breaks Nature Denisova new human fossil embargo

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courtesy Nature

Another human fossil find, another broken embargo.

The Spanish newspaper La Razon broke the embargo on a Nature study out today describing the tip of ancient kid’s finger found in Denisova Cave in Siberia. Their story went up at least six and a half hours before today’s 1 p.m. Eastern embargo.

Nature asked La Razon to take down the story until the embargo, which they did. It’s now back up.

For a smart-as-always take on the find, see Brian Switek’s post. The Sydney Morning Herald couldn’t resist the obvious pun: “Giving accepted prehistoric history the finger.”

Hat tip: Razib Khan

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A new development, courtesy the ASCB: The indefinite embargo

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When reporters showed up at the American Society for Cell Biology’s 50th annual meeting this week in Philadelphia, they were met with a puzzling update to the meeting’s press book. Three of the abstracts listed in that book as embargoed until they were presented at prescheduled times during the meeting were now embargoed indefinitely.

The indefinite embargo was a new concept for me, as was the idea that a society could change the times once they’d already sent out a clearly marked press book weeks earlier. On top of that, it turned out that all three of those abstracts — as well as thousands of others — were freely available, no registration required, on the ASCB website.

All of that made about as much sense to me as the slogan for the conference, “Brokeback Mitochondria.” The press book, as did posters and other promotional materials, featured two mice dressed as cowboys, against a mountain backdrop. If anyone can explain what a movie about two men who have a secret gay life has to do with cell biology, I’d appreciate it. (No, it’s not because anyone was discussing “gay genes,” whatever those are, according to Popular Science.)

There are three issues here: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 17, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

What if medical and science reporting was more like legal reporting?

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Brian Reid is a former reporter for Bloomberg who’s now a director at PR/communications firm WCG. He’s written two guest posts for Embargo Watch: one on how the embargo system could break, and another on what moving science reporting upstream could mean for embargoes. In this post, he wonders what lessons medical and science reporting could learn from how journalists cover the justice system.

Brian Reid

Earlier this week, we saw a complex story burst onto front pages with minimal warning: a federal judge’s decision to strike down a portion of the health care reform law.

That made me wonder what medical journalism would look like in an environment in which no one gets a head start on the news – in other words, in which information came out when it came out, and there were no embargoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

OECD wants to punish German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung for PISA education study embargo break

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The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) plans to ban one of Germany’s largest newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, from access to its embargoed materials following the paper’s story about a recent OECD report published ahead of an embargo last week.

The education performance report, known as PISA and “based on surveys of half a million 15-year-old students in 65 countries,” according to my colleague Brian Love, was embargoed until 11 a.m. Central European Time, but Süddeutsche Zeitung had a report in its Tuesday edition, out long before.

Die Tageszeitung, another news outlet, reported the planned sanctions on Friday. The responsible Süddeutsche Zeitung editor, Tanjev Schultz, told Die Tageszeitung Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 13, 2010 at 10:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NEJM improves from its 49-minute short embargo record

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Short embargo race winner the New England Journal of Medicine49 minutes is the current record — was at it again yesterday, sending out a paper on the origins of the cholera strain now devastating Haiti at 12:58 p.m. Eastern that was embargoed for 5 p.m.

Why the rush? NEJM media relations Karen Buckley told me: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized