Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The math prize embargo that didn’t add up

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fields

The Fields Medal

What a mess.

Last Wednesday, at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Rio, the International Mathematical Union announced the winners of the Fields Medal, which many consider the Nobel Prize of math. The announcements had been embargoed until 11:30 a.m. Rio time, which is 10:30 U.S. East Coast time.

But as David Castelvecchi, who covers math, physics, and other subjects for Nature, tells Embargo Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Ivan Oransky

August 7, 2018 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Did an advocacy group just take a step toward a dreaded “close hold embargo?”

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public citizen hrgOn Monday, an email from a reporter landed in my inbox with a subject line that began: “FOR EMBARGO WATCH.” My immediate reaction was one of guilt; as readers know, I have not been able to find a fraction of the time I’d like to write here. But then I opened the email, and saw a curious thing.

Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, which is more than a little media savvy, was sending a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), criticizing how studies of ketamine had been conducted. Nothing all that unusual there; it’s the kind of thing the Health Research Group does regularly.

This is what struck my correspondent as unusual: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 25, 2018 at 7:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

PNAS lifts embargo early on study of narwhals after CBC breaks it

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pnasThe Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) lifted the embargo early today on a study of which marine mammals were most vulnerable to sea vessels on newly opened parts of the Arctic, after a story appeared on the CBC before the originally scheduled embargo time.

From an email from PNAS to its media list: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 2, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Retraction Watch: When — and how — should journals flag papers that don’t quite meet retraction criteria?

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This is a post from Retraction Watch, our sister blog that’s unfortunately facing technical issues that are taking a while to iron out. Until we sort those out, Retraction Watch is posting a few stories here.

COPEReaders of Retraction Watch will be no strangers to the practice of issuing Expressions of Concern — editorial notices from journals that indicate a paper’s results may not be valid. While a good idea in theory — so readers can be aware of potential issues while an investigation is underway — in practice, it’s a somewhat flawed system. As we (and others before us) have shown, so-called EOCs can linger indefinitely, leaving researchers unsure how to interpret a flagged paper.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) agrees that the system has room for improvement. Although COPE has included advice on when to issue EOCs within its retraction guidelines, it has allotted time in the next COPE Forum (Feb 26) to discuss the topic. Some questions it’s considering:

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Written by alisonmccook

February 19, 2018 at 8:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Retraction Watch: “Major advance” in solar power retracted for reproducibility issues

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This is a post from Retraction Watch, our sister blog that’s unfortunately facing technical issues that are taking a while to iron out. Until we sort those out, Retraction Watch is posting a few stories here.

nmat-v17-n2The authors of a highly cited 2016 research letter on a way to improve the efficiency of solar panels have retracted their work following “concerns about the reproducibility.”

Given the potential importance of the data, it would be nice to know what exactly went wrong, and why. However, the retraction notice doesn’t provide many details, and doesn’t even specify if the authors did indeed fail to reproduce the data.

The letter, titled “Graded bandgap perovskite solar cells,” was published in Nature Materials by a group out of the University of California at Berkeley and the affiliated Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The 2016 article has been cited 16 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, earning it the ranking of “highly cited.”

Berkeley heralded the findings in a press release as a “major advance” in the field of solar energy:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by armarcus68

February 16, 2018 at 10:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Retraction Watch: Should a journal retract a paper the authors didn’t know contained bad data?

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This is a pom_qjmed_111_1coverst from Retraction Watch, our sister blog that’s unfortunately facing technical issues that are taking a while to iron out. Until we sort those out, Retraction Watch is posting a few stories here.

A medical journal has retracted a 2016 paper over a series of errors, prompting it to lose faith in the paper overall. The authors have objected to the decision, arguing the errors weren’t their fault and could be revised with a correction — rather than retracting what they consider “an important contribution” to an ongoing debate in medicine.

The paper explored the so-called weekend effect—that patients admitted to the emergency department on the weekend are more likely to die than those admitted on a weekday. Whether the weekend effect is real is not clear. Some studies have supported the phenomenon in certain areas of medicine, but others (including the now-retracted paper) have failed to find an effect.

First author Mohammed A. Mohammed, based at the University of Bradford in the UK, told Retraction Watch that the errors were introduced by one of the hospitals that provided them the data:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

February 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Retraction Watch: Author retracts Nature paper on Asia’s glaciers flagged for data error

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cover_natureThis is a post from Retraction Watch, our sister blog that’s unfortunately facing technical issues that are taking a while to iron out. Until we sort those out, Retraction Watch is posting a few stories here. 

A glacier researcher has retracted a Nature paper after mistakenly underestimating glacial melt by as much as a factor of ten.

In September, the journal tagged “Asia’s glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought,” originally published in May 2017 by Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, with an expression of concern, notifying readers of the mistake. It turns out, Pritchard had missed the fine print on a data set; a figure he thought represented water loss over a decade covered, in fact, only a year.

In September, Pritchard told Retraction Watch that the mix-up strengthened his argument that glacial melt was important to Asia’s water supply.

However, in the retraction notice, published today, he indicated that the mistake affected other conclusions: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew Han

February 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized