Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for December 2011

A blog spoke, they listened: A look at groups that joined the Embargo Watch Honor Roll in 2011

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Photo b jma.work via Flickr http://bit.ly/tbxvYX

The end of 2011 has snuck up on me, and there’s not much time left for a Best of 2011 post. So I’ll just call attention to the scientific societies and journals that did something to earn a spot on the Embargo Watch Honor Roll this year. These are all organizations who changed their policies following Embargo Watch criticism: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Do PR agencies really think it’s a good idea to send reporters gifts?

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From a letter sent this week to a member of my Reuters Health staff:

Let’s face it. News is often a stressful business that can literally leave you in pain. The hours spent racing deadlines while hunkered over your desk definitely take their toll.

To help you usher in 2012 with a little less pain, DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) has two gifts for our media colleagues:

1. The Brookstone Orthopedic Back Cushion, a pressure-relieving memory foam pillow designed to provide soothing lower back relief whether you’re on the job, in the car or at home…

And there, in the box containing the letter, was the cushion. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

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Neurology breaks its own embargo — again

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The journal Neurology lifted the embargo on their January issue early this week after their publisher posted the issue ahead of schedule. An email from Wednesday:

Dear Reporters,

We would like to inform you that the embargo on the following article featured in the press release below has been lifted as our publisher has posted the article online to Neurology’s website at www.neurology.org.   Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

Here was the top of the original release, sent out on Tuesday: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 30, 2011 at 9:30 am

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What should physics writers do about the arXiv “freely available but embargoed” problem?

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Photo via hetemeel.com

Imagine you’re a writer covering physics. (Or, if you’re a writer covering physics, just be yourself for the moment.) Now imagine you came across a paper called “Disruption of a Proto-Planetary Disk by the Black Hole at the Milky Way Centre” that got your mind’s juices flowing. The abstract looks really interesting, so you’re about to click on the PDF link when you see this: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

A wild and woolly week at Science: Breaking their own embargo, censorship allegations, and the CFS-XMRV retraction

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Science — the journal, although arguably the endeavor, too — has had a  busy week.

First, the mundane hoist upon their own petard: The journal broke its own embargo Wednesday when a ScienceNow story about a study embargoed until 2 p.m. Eastern Thursday went live 24 hours early. Here’s a tweet from ScienceNow that went out about 2 p.m. Wednesday, courtesy of an Embargo Watch tipster, linking to a story about elephants having six toes. (The story was removed and then replaced once the embargo lifted.)

I asked Science Press Package Director Kathy Wren what had happened. She thanked me for bringing it to her attention: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

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AACR lifts diet-breast cancer study embargo early after MSNBC break

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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) lifted the embargo early yesterday on a study of diet and breast cancer after MSNBC ran a story ahead of schedule. From the AACR press office:

The embargo on the Dr. Michelle Harvie study, “Intermittent, Low-Carbohydrate Diets More Successful Than Standard Dieting, Present Possible Intervention for Breast Cancer Prevention,” originally scheduled for 5 p.m. CT today has been lifted due to an embargo break by MSNBC this morning. All reporters are free to release their stories at this time.

Dr. Harvie is scheduled to present this study in a poster presentation at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium today at 5 p.m. CT.

I contacted the AACR to ask whether MSNBC would face any sanctions, but haven’t heard back.

One wonders if they will face the kind of sanctions another news outlet faced when they broke a Microsoft embargo earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

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Embargo disappears into two supermassive black holes after Sunday Times story

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From an email that went out from the Nature press office this morning:

Due to early reporting, we are lifting the embargo on the below paper and you may report on this research now. The rest of the papers on this week’s Nature press release remain under embargo until 1800 London time (GMT) on Wednesday 07 December.

The study under embargo was the “discovery of the two biggest supermassive black holes ever found,” according to the release.

Nature tells Embargo Watch that it’s still looking into what happened. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm

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The Girl with the Embargoed Tattoo: New Yorker film critic banned from screenings after jumping the gun

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From time to time, I cover book embargo kerfuffles here at Embargo Watch, even if they have nothing to do with science. I do it because it’s a reminder that the tension between competing interests and the free flow of information is an issue in many areas. I don’t do this terribly often, and I generally ignore technology product release embargo breaks, which seem to happen almost as often as scientific retractions.

Today, I bring you the tale of a broken movie embargo by the New Yorker’s David Denby. Denby, you see, is the author of review of Scott Rudin’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which will run in the magazine this week — a week before the embargo was scheduled to lift. The move — which Rudin called “very, very damaging” in an email exchange — landed Denby a ban on all future press screenings of Rudin-produced films.

The entire exchange is quite illuminating — read it here at indieWIRE, which obtained the emails — particularly for Denby’s excuses. As The Guardian reports, the critic: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

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