Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for April 2011

A tally of April’s wild and woolly embargo breaks, capped by a publisher error at JNCI

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The subject line of an email from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute yesterday:

JNCI Study: Embargo on Radiation Study Lifted Early. Feel Free to Publish Anytime.

This is the science journal equivalent of “Smoke ’em if you got ’em.” Which is probably the wrong metaphor for a cancer journal.

In any case, JNCI tells Embargo Watch that the online team that their publisher, Oxford University Press, broke the embargo accidentally by posting the study early.

That capped a busy April for embargo breaks. We chronicled seven, including that one: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

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Cell Press jumps the shark, royal wedding edition

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With thousands of journalists thronging London to cover the royal wedding tomorrow, there has been no shortage of media coverage leading up the event. And that has meant plenty of strained news pegs. (One was embargoed until just now, which is why I’m blogging about it. More on that later.)

But it’s not just the mainstream outlets who are guilty. Take this piece from Cell that came out on April 15, as Nature‘s Great Beyond noted. Below, find a few choice excerpts: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

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Plausible deniability: Avastin, Lucentis, AMD, ARVO, and a chink in the Ingelfinger armor

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By now, if you follow health and science news, you will have probably heard about the results of a trial that isn’t scheduled to be announced until Sunday at an ophthalmology conference. But the top-line findings of the CATT study, comparing Avastin and Lucentis for macular degeneration, appeared in the New York Times yesterday thanks to a scoop by Andrew Pollack. The embargo on the full results of the study has just been lifted by the New England Journal of Medicine, which is why this post can go live without breaking any kind of embargo, although the study itself hasn’t quite appeared online yet. (If you’re reading this after it went online, the link on “the study itself” will work.)

The incident isn’t over as far as Embargo Watch is concerned, however. There are a few issues here:

  • Did Pollack break an embargo?
  • Why didn’t NEJM invoke the Ingelfinger Rule, refusing to publish because results had already appeared?
  • Will anyone be sanctioned for this? As the Times noted: “Investigators in the National Eye Institute trial had a day-long meeting on Tuesday in Chicago to learn the results. But they were sworn to secrecy.” Two of those investigators spoke to Pollack anonymously.

I asked NEJM’s media relations manager Karen Buckley about the decision: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Science lifts embargo early on Marc Hauser replication study

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As we reported on our sister blog Retraction Watch earlier today, Science has released a study by Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser and a colleague replicating work from a 2007 study in the journal that has since been questioned. Hauser, as readers will likely recall, was found guilty of scientific misconduct by Harvard, which has yet to release its final report of the investigation. The 2007 data, however, seem to hold up, according to the report.

The study was embargoed for release with the rest of this week’s Science at 2 p.m Eastern on Thursday, but the journal sent it out early. I asked the press office why. They responded: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm

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F1000 vs. Ingelfinger, part two: Blood and The Journal of Proteome Research respond

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Several weeks ago, an Embargo Watch item noted that Faculty of 1000, a site that organizes post-publication peer review, had struck a blow against the Ingelfinger Rule. According to that rule, as I wrote, “journals refuse to publish anything that’s appeared in the mainstream press or in other journals.”

(The post sparked a fair amount of discussion around the Web, and it has even apparently spawned a T-shirt design, “Give the finger to Ingelfinger.” Maybe I’ve found a business model for Embargo Watch.)

In my original post, I noted that I had asked the editors of two journals — Blood and The Journal of Proteome Research — who said they wouldn’t publish papers based on posters uploaded to F1000, but had in fact done so. That seemed like a contradiction, so I wanted to know the rationale for the journals’ policies, and also how they could explain their decisions to publish.

Last week, I heard back from those two journals. Blood sent this response on behalf of editor-in-chief Cynthia Dunbar: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

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Wednesday is break one embargo, get another one free day at Nature, American Journal of Public Health

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At Carvel, Wednesday is buy one, get one free day. “Wednesday is Sundae,” the slogan goes. Apparently, that’s true for embargo breaks, too, or at least it was this week.

From Nature yesterday, at 11:47 a.m. Eastern, 73 minutes before their scheduled 1 p.m. embargo lift (link added): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 14, 2011 at 8:11 am

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Unusual: American Academy of Neurology lifts laquinimod MS embargo early after investment firm Jefferies breaks it

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This just in from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), whose meeting is underway in Honolulu as we speak:

SPECIAL NOTICE: Due to an embargo break by Jeffries analyst firm, the following late-breaking scientific abstract is being immediately released by the American Academy of Neurology at its Annual Meeting, in Honolulu, April 9 – 16, 2011. Please note that only this late-breaking abstract is being released early. The embargo remains the date and time of presentation for all other late-breaking abstracts presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting unless otherwise noted by the Academy’s Media and Public Relations Department.

The press conference scheduled for 9am HST, Tuesday, April 12, 2011, regarding Dr. Comi’s abstract below has also been cancelled.

We thank the reporters who abided by the embargo. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized