N – The end for embargoes?

Embargoes turn journalists into propagandists for scientists and academic journals and reduce science to an artificial series of “eureka moments,” according to Vincent Kiernan, associate dean at Georgetown University speaking at the World Conference of Science Journalists. Richard Horton, editor the Lancet, said, “You’ve sold your soul to publicity masquerading as science.” Many journalists think that embargoes ensure that they don’t miss a story and have time to report. Losing the system would force editors to employ reporters who understand science rather than simply regurgitate weekly press releases, Horton concluded. Horton suggested a randomised trial in the Lancet to see if embargoed papers get more and better coverage in the lay press. (http://blogs.nature.com/news/blog/2009/07/embargoes_broken.html)