Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for January 2013

On embargoes, a dart and a laurel for Science

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scienceReaders of the Columbia Journalism Review will be familiar with the magazine’s Darts and Laurels section, which calls out journalism organizations for criticism and praise, respectively (and respectfully). So I hope it’s appropriate, given the subject of this post, that I borrow that metaphor for a moment for some commentary on recent embargo issues involving Science.

First, the dart: As Curtis Brainard reports in — wait for it — CJR, Science and Nature gave reporters just 24 hours’ notice on an announcement they were jointly publishing that “scientists in some countries will soon resume research on a deadly avian flu virus that was suspended last year amid concerns about safety and terrorism”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 31, 2013 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A real Bear: Miscommunication about prolific author’s work leads to Neuron study embargo snafu

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Mark Bear via MIT

Mark Bear via MIT

Mark Bear is having a good year. The MIT neuroscientist and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator was scheduled to have two papers in Neuron within two months. But that kind of success can trip up busy press offices, as those at Neuron and Johns Hopkins — where one of Bear’s collaborators works — found out today.

At noon today, a Hopkins press release titled “Pavlov’s rats? Rodents trained to link rewards to visual cues” was set to come off embargo. The release — which included a picture of a rat in snazzy goggles — caught the attention of Motherboard writer Derek Mead, who wrote a post on the study. It was only after Mead posted his story at the scheduled embargo time that Bear’s Hopkins collaborator sheepishly told him that there’d been an error, and that the study was actually still embargoed, maybe until March.

Mead had apparently broken an embargo. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

JAMA Psychiatry lifts embargo early on suicide study after New York Times breaks it

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jama psychI find out about embargo breaks all sorts of ways. Today, I found out about one on Twitter.

At 6:05 p.m. Eastern today, Bloomberg’s Elizabeth Lopatto tweeted about a story in the New York Times on a study in JAMA Psychiatry that was embargoed until tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern.

It seemed that the Times had broken an embargo. So I asked JAMA — which recently changed the embargo times for its newly renamed Archives journals — whether this was a break. The Times would be taking the story down shortly, JAMA said, so the embargo would hold.

I told JAMA I found it surprising Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Journal of Urology takes a few steps toward the Embargo Watch Honor Roll

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jurolIn what seems like a good way to start the new year, I’ve just learned that the Journal of Urology has moved away — somewhat, anyway — from its version of a “freely available but embargoed” policy.

In October, I noted that many of the journal’s advance online publications included the following statement:

All articles printed in The Journal of Urology® are embargoed until 3 PM ET the day they are published as corrected proofs online. Studies cannot be publicized as accepted manuscripts or uncorrected proofs.

Retraction Watch readers may recall that the journal’s own executive editor and director of publications acknowledged that this policy was one for which the “rationale trumps logic.” And now the journal has made some changes. Accepted manuscripts posted on the journal’s site now include this statement instead of the one above: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 7, 2013 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized