Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

On Ruth Francis’s second-to-last day, Nature lifts embargo on battery-ear paper for “embarrassing” situation

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Tomorrow is Ruth Francis’s last day as head of the Nature press office, before she begins in a similar role at BioMed Central. So perhaps appropriately for someone who is held in high regard for her straightforward and ethical approach to media relations, she’s going out with a bang, doing the right thing despite acknowledging that the situation is “embarrassing.”

Nature’s email to reporters today tells the story:

It has come to our attention that this week’s Nature is covering a paper due to be published on Sunday 11 November in its research highlights section. The paper was originally scheduled for Sunday 04 November but pushed back due to tropical storm Sandy, and the research highlight gone to press before the editors realised. Embarrassing as this is, we thought it best to be transparent, and lift the embargo with immediate effect. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused by this.

The paper is: Battery power from the ear

The full release is below. This was originally scheduled for Sunday 11 November, 18.00 London time (GMT) but the embargo is lifting immediately. All other research in that release remains under embargo.

This — and last month’s early lift of exoplanet news — brings to mind Michael Corleone’s famous quote from The Godfather Part III: “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.” It’s also the second Sandy-related embargo kerfuffle I’ve covered.

And it speaks well of Francis, who unlike some of her counterparts is not afraid to lift an embargo early when it’s the right thing to do. Embargo Watch wishes her the best in her new gig.

Bonus: Nature’s Geoff Brumfiel posted this picture of Francis in an embargo-themed hoodie.


Written by Ivan Oransky

November 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Thanks Ivan. As they say, when you become the headline it’s definitely time to go…

    Ruth Francis

    November 8, 2012 at 4:38 am

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