Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

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Elsevier obstetrics-gynecology journal “stunned” to learn embargoed cervical cancer screening study is already online

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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 »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 18, 2011 at 8:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Bloomberg breaks AACR embargo on basal cell cancer study

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From the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) this morning:

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.

The study is being released at the AACR’s meeting in Orlando, which starts tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Trade mag and blog break coffee-head and neck cancer study embargo

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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 »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

CNN breaks embargo on stress and breast cancer study in Clinical Cancer Research

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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 »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Did Nick Kristof break an embargo on chemicals and cancer report?

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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 »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 6, 2010 at 12:01 am

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It’s ASCO time: Cancer group announces its embargoed press program

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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 »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

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PNAS lifts narcissism embargo early after wire service story breaks it

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pnas june

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 »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

PNAS lifts embargo early after finding three-month old article by author describing findings

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pnas juneAfter what the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is calling an “embargo break,” the journal has lifted the embargo early on a paper because the findings were described by the author in a popular science magazine in April.

Here’s the email that went out yesterday a bit before 7 p.m. Eastern, days before the scheduled 3 p.m. Eastern embargo Monday: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 13, 2014 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Break an embargo, get fined $70,000

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ferrariWhen it comes to sanctions for science journal embargo breaks, it seems to depend who you are. As a rule of thumb, smaller outlets get punished, while larger ones don’t, although there have certainly been exceptions, and most breaks aren’t punished at all.

But automotive media reporters — some of whom have griped about embargoes before — are buzzing this week about a threat by Ferrari to fine journalists who hit the gas before the starting gun on stories about their new car, LaFerrari. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 25, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Dermatology journal lifts embargo early after organization forgets to include embargo notice

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jidEarly Monday morning of last week (January 20th), several hours before a scheduled noon Eastern embargo lift, the Nature Publishing Group press office sent a note to its media list:

Please note that the embargo on the Journal of Investigative Dermatology paper below is lifted, effective immediately, due to early reporting.

The beginning of the press release about the study: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 27, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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