- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Does science journalism falter or flourish under embargo?
One of the highlights of the World Conference of Science Journalists was the final day’s heated debate about embargoes. For newcomers to the issue, journalists are often given press alerts about new papers before they are made publicly available, on the understanding that they aren’t reported before a certain deadline – the infamous embargo. This is why so much science news magically appears at simultaneously across news outlets. All the major journals (and many minor ones) do this with their papers, as increasingly do universities and other research institutions.
Vincent Kiernan (who has written a book deriding this practice) launched the first volley against embargoes by urging journalists to “just walk away” from them. He described them as a