Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Science does the right thing, moving up Chelyabinsk asteroid embargo

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science 11113As this post goes live, this week’s issue of Science is still embargoed for 2 p.m. Eastern. But one study in that issue has been all over the media since 1 p.m. yesterday.

There were no embargo breaks, however. An email went out to Science‘s press list on Monday:

This morning we received a note from a major wire service, as well as several other journalists, alerting us to two scientific papers in another major journal that — similar to the embargoed Science paper, “Chelyabinsk Airburst, Damage Assessment, Meteorite Recovery and Characterization” — describe the 2013 Chelyabinsk asteroid and its impact.

As a service to journalists interested in comprehensively covering this topic, we will synchronize the release time of the Science paper with the two related papers. The embargo release time of this paper in Science will be lifted at 1:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, Wednesday, 6 November. Please note: all other material in this Science Press Package will remain under embargo until 2:00 pm US ET/19:00 GMT, Thursday, 7 November 2013.

The other journal was, of course, Nature, which has a regular embargo time of 1 p.m. Eastern on Wednesdays. Presumably, Science didn’t want to reveal the name because there may be some reporters on Science‘s embargoed list who aren’t on Nature‘s. As I wrote the last time I noted this behavior:

One would hope that journals would figure they’d at least get a mention in a story involving another journal’s work if they do this, instead of potentially getting ignored if they hold stubbornly to their own embargo in the hopes they’d be the focus of coverage. Science has done this at least a few times in recent years, but not every journal will.

And it worked for Science this time, too. Most of the coverage, such as this Discover blog post, mentioned both journals.

Written by Ivan Oransky

November 7, 2013 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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