Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for January 2012

Confusion at PNAS as unpublished dinosaur nest paper gets coverage. Plus: Fill our their survey!

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This morning, a group of science writers added me to a conversation on Twitter about a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that was being widely covered by news outlets, but didn’t seem to have been published yet. The paper apparently claimed evidence of the oldest dinosaur nest yet found.

I assumed — incorrectly, as it turns out — that this was yet another case of the vexing PNAS problem, in which many of the papers that come off embargo on Mondays actually aren’t available on the PNAS site. That is irritating for reporters who want to link to papers, readers who want to learn more about studies, and authors who want to be able to discuss their work.

In fact, however, there seems to have simply been an error. The paper didn’t make it into the embargoed press list or the Early Edition table of contents, and yet this doesn’t seem to have been an embargo break.

Freelance science writer Lucas Brouwers tells Embargo Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Reporters, take note: Elsevier promotes non-embargoed studies in new email service

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Elsevier has relaunched a service for journalists highlighting interesting studies reporters may have missed. The new service describes itself this way under a headline, “Bringing the latest peer reviewed science direct to your inbox…” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Study about potential effects of new autism definition spotlights the Ingelfinger Rule

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Reactions to a New York Times story from last week about a new definition of autism that could limit the number of people diagnosed with the condition — and therefore eligible for support and services — have turned into a good case study in how the Ingelfinger Rule works.

For the uninitiated, here’s how veteran medical trade reporter Bob Finn describes the rule:

Franz J. Ingelfinger, M.D., (1910-1980) was editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) from 1967-1977. During his tenure he decreed that for an article to be published in his journal it must not previously have appeared elsewhere. The rule prohibited authors from releasing their results to the news media before the date they were published in the journal. A small number of other journals (such as JAMA) developed similar policies, and the net result is that scientists are often afraid to talk to reporters for fear that they’ll lose the opportunity to publish in JAMA or NEJM (or Nature or Cell or Science).

The new study, by Yale’s Fred Volkmar and colleagues, took a look at the likely effects of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria for autism. The fifth edition of the DSM is scheduled to be published in 2013, and has already been plagued by controversy. As the Times reports: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

AACR joins the Embargo Watch Honor Roll with a new policy on sanctions

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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has a new policy that’s a breath of transparent air into what can be an inconsistent area that many organizations would rather sweep under the rug: How to sanction embargo breakers. (Yes, I mixed some metaphors.)

Here’s the policy, which the AACR tells me they’ll be announcing today: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

American Journal of Preventive Medicine lifts exergames study embargo early after break

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From an email sent out this morning:






“Exergames” May Provide Cognitive Benefit for Older Adults

New Findings Reported in American Journal of Preventive Medicine

 San Diego, CA, January 17, 2012 – Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Wiley lifts embargo on smoking Mayans study early after biologist posts a press release he never signed up for

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This morning, University of California, Davis genome biologist and well-known science blogger Jonathan Eisen sent out a tweet that, not surprisingly, caught my attention:

So – if people keep sending me embargoed press releases even when I do not ask for them, do I have to follow the embargo?

My response, as Embargo Watch readers could have predicted: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Dutch news agency breaks PNAS Stradivarius study embargo

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The ANP Dutch news agency broke the embargo yesterday on a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of whether violinists can tell the difference between a Stradivarius and other instruments.

ANP’s story ran several hours before the PNAS embargo lifted at 3 p.m. Eastern.

EurekAlert, which distributes PNAS releases, told at least one news organization that they had contacted the publication and asked them to remove the article. That doesn’t seem to have happened before the embargo lifted. EurekAlert also contacted PNAS, but the journal was closed for the holiday, according to their alert last week.

ANP told one reporter that communications from the German press agency DPA had confused the issue. The German agency Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized