Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Seralini republishes retracted GMO-rats paper, again with an unusual embargo

with one comment

env sci europeIn 2012, when Gilles Seralini and colleagues published a paper in Food and Chemical Toxicology on the effects of GMO maize and the herbicide Roundup on rats, they did something very unusual: They forced reporters who wanted advance copies of the study to agree not to talk to anyone about it before the embargo lifted.

I called that an attempt to turn reporters into stenographers, and Carl Zimmer said that any journalists who agreed to the terms was engaging in a “rancid, corrupt way to report about science.”

The paper was retracted last year, but Seralini et. al. have republished it, and sent the new version to reporters under embargo for today at 11 a.m. Paris time.

This time, they didn’t put the same restrictions on the embargo, but they did do something else unusual: They intentionally omitted the name of the journal from the embargoed materials, saying they’d release that during a press conference just beginning as this post goes live.  Why? Seralini told me by email:

Monsanto made some much pressure on the Journal on the first time, that we want to avoid illegal pressures.

Of course, it’s also possible that a lot of reporters, not having heard of the journal, Environmental Sciences Europe, would either have been less likely to cover the study, or have asked environmental scientists what they knew of the journal. As I point out in our sister blog, Retraction Watch:

The journal, part of SpringerOpen, is too young to have an official Impact Factor (IF). Using the same calculation, however, the journal would have an IF of .55. That would place it about 190th out of the 210 journals in the “environmental sciences” category at Thomson Scientific. (For comparison, Food and Chemical Toxicology has an IF of just above 3, and a ranking of 27th.)



Written by Ivan Oransky

June 24, 2014 at 5:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. In your embargoed material, was any mention made of the companion piece Séralini and companions also offered? (Esp. w.r.t. to your quote “Monsanto made some much pressure on the Journal on the first time, that we want to avoid illegal pressures.”.)

    I’ve briefly written about this at sciblogs: http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2014/06/25/widely-criticised-seralini-gmo-feed-study-republished-with-companion-piece/

    Grant Jacobs

    June 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

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