Elsevier obstetrics-gynecology journal “stunned” to learn embargoed cervical cancer screening study is already online
One of the services we offer readers at my day job as executive editor of Reuters Health is links, whenever available, to our primary sources. We were doing it before Ben Goldacre asked why journalists don’t link to studies, but if you want to know why we do, read his column.
Many of the studies we cover are never embargoed. (Imagine that: I run a health news service that doesn’t rely solely on embargoed material.) So as per our practice, when a member of our staff was working on a story about excess cervical cancer screening from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG) embargoed for a minute after midnight this morning, she tried to find a digital object identifier (DOI) she could include in the piece. Turns out it was right in the press release:
The article is “Human papillomavirus and Papanicolaou tests screening interval recommendations in the United States” by Katherine B. Roland, MPH; Ashwini Soman, MBBS, MPH; Vicki B. Benard, PhD; Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH (doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.06.001). It will appear in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 205, Issue 5 (November 2011) published by Elsevier.
She went to the DOI, to see if it said it would be live at a later date, or gave us an error, so we could decide what to put in the story. Then she had a surprise. Read the rest of this entry »
Due to an embargo break by Bloomberg News, the embargo on the paper “New Inhibitor Prevented Lesions, Reduced Tumor Size in Basal Cell Cancer,” (view the abstract) which had been previously set at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday April 2, 2011, is released. Reporters and editors planning to do the story can release their items at this time.
Minutes after I posted that I was putting Embargo Watch under embargo until June 30, we got this notice from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR):
The embargo has been lifted on the AACR press release: “Coffee May Protect Against Head and Neck Cancers,” due to a violation by Drug Discovery and Development and the Sci-Tech Heretic blog. Reporters may post their stories effective immediately. Read the rest of this entry »
The embargo should be lifting in two minutes, at 1 p.m. Eastern, on a study in Clinical Cancer Research which found that lowering stress among women with breast cancer was linked to better outcomes. But an item about the study went live on CNN’s Paging Dr. Gupta blog at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Jeff Grabmeier, director of research communications at Ohio State University, where the study’s lead researcher works, emailed me about the break a bit before noon. He said a local reporter had come across the CNN item. Jeff called the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the journal’s publisher, and a press officer there told him that they’d contact CNN to see if they could take down the item. Read the rest of this entry »
The embargo has just lifted — at 12:01 a.m. Eastern, May 6 — on the President’s Cancer Panel’s new report, “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now.” You will probably be reading a lot about this report’s hard line on regulating chemicals in the coming days. You can start by reading Reuters’ version here.
But if you were one of Nick Kristof’s many loyal readers who checks for his new columns the night before they appear in print, you would have known about this report hours ago. Or at least two hours ago, when someone forwarded me a link to this column. I’m not sure exactly what time it went up, but it was before 10 p.m. Eastern. Nick tweeted about it at 11:10 Eastern.
At least three possibilities, in order of what I find least to most likely:
Read the rest of this entry »
Ordinarily, you won’t catch me writing an item or story about a press release, or even based solely on a press release. In fact, I rail against such practices when it comes to clinical studies.
But here at Embargo Watch, there’s at least one release worth writing a post on: The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s, or ASCO’s. Read the rest of this entry »
Following heavy criticism, FDA says controversial embargo policy is “not to be used under any circumstance”
Several months after a damning expose demonstrating that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was violating its own official policy by using a controversial embargo practice, the agency has said it will no longer use so-called “close-hold embargoes.”
Such embargo agreements restrict whom reporters can talk to before embargoes lift, unlike standard embargoes in which journalists can share information for comment as long as their sources understand it is under embargo. I’ve called this an attempt to turn reporters into stenographers.
In a letter today to the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), outgoing FDA Acting Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs Jason Young acknowledges that at times, the agency’s policy “was not adequately followed.” And Young — whose last day at the FDA is today, ahead of the Presidential inauguration — writes (bolding his) that Read the rest of this entry »
On Tuesday, Vox posted what I called my “embargo manifesto.” I’ve been pleased to see it generate substantial discussion, including disagreement and criticism, on social media. And I’m also pleased to present this guest post from Brian Reid, a former reporter for Bloomberg who’s now a director at PR/communications firm W2O, responding to the piece.
Reading Ivan Oransky’s well-thought out missive against the use of embargoes in scientific and medical communication reminded me of the Winston Churchill chestnut about democracy: It’s the worst form of government, except for all of the others. The embargo system, in which vetted reporters receive additional time to assess and report complex information, in return for agreeing not to publish before a certain time, is also the worst system, except for all of the others.
In Oransky’s view, the current system encourages hype, discourages context and empowers journals and corporations to the detriment of reporters and, particularly, their audiences. Much of that criticism is spot-on.
But what would the world of medical reporting look like if embargoes went away? Certainly different, but probably not better. Here’s what you’d get every Wednesday at 5 p.m. (when the New England Journal of Medicine goes public): Read the rest of this entry »
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which lifted the embargo on papers early 11 times last year because of breaks or previous media coverage, is on track for a similar figure this year, thanks to three recent incidents.
On October 27 the journal sent this to its media list: Read the rest of this entry »
Is breaking an embargo a symptom of narcissism?
From the top of an email sent at 2:14 p.m Eastern Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) to its media list Monday, 46 minutes before the embargo on the study in question was scheduled to lift: Read the rest of this entry »