Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

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 that the Times would agree to do that, and also that the embargo hadn’t been lifted. Shortly thereafter, at 7:45 p.m. Eastern, JAMA sent this message to its press list:

The embargo on the study below is lifted immediately because of an embargo break by the New York Times. The study is available for immediate use.

The journal tells me they have yet to decide whether the Times will face sanctions.

Update, 7 p.m. Eastern, 1/9/13: JAMA tells Embargo Watch there will be no sanctions:

After speaking with the reporter and his editor (who were very apologetic), this embargo break seems to be an honest mistake caused in part by confusion over the title changes for the former Archives journals and our new embargo/distribution schedule for the specialty journals.  We are in transition period with lots of changes at The JAMA Network happening at the same time.  While it does not excuse a journalist from double-checking embargo information, the JAMA Network editors understand that there might be some hiccups in these first days of change.


Written by Ivan Oransky

January 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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