The revolution will not be embargoed: My embargo manifesto, on Vox
I’ve finally done it: My embargo manifesto is live.
Today, Vox — thanks to Eliza Barclay and Julia Belluz — published “Why science news embargoes are bad for the public.” In its 2,000-plus words, I try to distill my thinking on embargoes, the Ingelfinger Rule, and the system that’s evolved around media coverage of science.
In reality, embargoes allow journals, universities, nonprofits, and corporations to decide what’s important — and when. That should be up to journalists and, frankly, anyone who writes about science. Reporters, even with the best intentions, end up on the study-of-the-week treadmill, and they’re less creative because of the limitations of something called the Ingelfinger Rule, which scares researchers out of talking to them (more on that in a moment). Science, rather than appearing like a human enterprise, full of fits and starts in the never-ending search for knowledge, is expected to prove claims once a week, or even more frequently. And I think that’s bad for readers and viewers.
I know that not everyone agrees with me, and I hope the piece can foster more discussion on what I obviously think is an important issue. Thanks in advance for reading.