Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

About Ivan Oransky

with 8 comments

Thanks for visiting Embargo Watch. I’m Ivan Oransky, the vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today. I teach medical journalism at New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program, and I’m the treasurer of the Association of Health Care Journalists. The views here do not necessarily represent those of any of those organizations.

In the past, I’ve been I executive editor of Reuters Health, managing editor, online, of Scientific American, deputy editor of The Scientist, and editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Praxis Post. For three years, I taught in the health and medicine track at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

I earned my bachelor’s at Harvard, where I was executive editor of The Harvard Crimson, and my MD at the New York University of School of Medicine.

I also blog, with Adam Marcus, at Retraction Watch. For more on what this blog is about, see its first post. Follow me on Twitter — @ivanoransky — or email me at ivan-oransky at erols.com.

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 23, 2010 at 12:54 pm

8 Responses

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  1. You horrible person.

    You have hit on an important subject that has exercised me so often over the years that I now have to follow this blog carefully.

    Omigod, another Twit to follow too.

    Well done. Seriously valuable thing to pursue.

    Have you ever looked into the link between embargoes and insider trading?

    Michael Kenward

    February 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm

  2. I will take “horrible person” when it is this heartfelt and supportive! Thanks.

    I have looked into one particular aspect of the link between embargoes and insider trading — the ASCO effect — and am gathering wool to post on that. Would love to hear about other examples and data.


    February 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

  3. Thanks, Ivan. Our office has been watching this issue of embargo breakage and wondering about the rest of the story, what happens to the reporters.

    Looking forward to reading about the JAMA perspective.

    Mary Jane
    Duke Medicine News

    Mary Jane Gore

    February 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

  4. Cool blog, Ivan. Nice job. With all the embargo breaks recently, it’s nice to have all the info in one place. And as someone mentioned in the other comment, it would be interesting to hear the perspective of the organizations/journals whose embargoes have been broken.

    Roxanne Nelson

    March 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  5. Ivan,
    I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog. I’ve had a lot of experience with embargoes. I worked for Science and Nature before joining NPR, and I was on the advisory committee to Eurekalert when AAAS established its embargo policy. I will try to be energetic enough to contribute to the valuable discussion you’ve started.

    The first point I’d like to raise is that an embargo is based on an agreement. It cannot be set unilaterally. Nature, NEJM, Eurekalert et. al. have asked me if I will agree to their embargo policies, and I have said yes. Had I said no, I wouldn’t be seeing their embargoed material.

    But all too frequently, I get an “embargoed” news release from a person or journal I’ve never heard of. I feel very little obligation to observe that “embargo.” I didn’t ask for the material, and I made no commitment to observe some organization’s arbitrary rules.

    More thoughts to come.


    Joe Palca

    March 11, 2010 at 10:41 am

  6. Roxanne, thanks for reading and for the kind note. I look forward to your contributions.

    Joe, great to have you keeping an eye on the blog, and I look forward to your contributions too. You raise an excellent point — it would be difficult for someone providing information to justify punishing someone who had never agreed to an embargo in the first place. An anecdote like that would be a great post, if anyone knows of one.


    March 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm

  7. Ivan: My son attends NYU. Hope one day he is fortunate and savvy enough to enroll in one of your medical journalism courses. Enjoy following you on twitter. Thanks for the enlightening light you continue to shine. @ColleenAtRPCI.


    March 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm

  8. Dr. Oransky,

    I wanted to comment on not only the well-deserved prominent review in the NY Times, and on the excellent work you’re doing here, but also to comment on the obvious fact of your handsomeness and my strong suspicion that this is a family trait.

    Steven D Anisman MD FACC

    September 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm

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