PODCAST: Embargoes in science reporting – Friend or foe?

An SMC recording made at the World Conference of Science Journalists held in London in late June. The recording is of a debate held, the moot being “Embargoes in Science Reporting: Friend or foe). The recording is not complete – Vincent Kiernan’s comments are only partially recorded.

Vincent Kiernan's book Embargoed Science
Vincent Kiernan's book Embargoed Science

Summary from the WCSJ website: Few issues provoke such impassioned debate as the issue of Embargoes in science reporting. Some science journalists are increasingly angry about what they see as ever more draconian sanctions on journalists for minor infringements of embargoes. Some others are angry that that science journals are wrongly labelling genuine scoops as embargo breaks and thus imposing unjustified sanctions. Science Press officers are angry that journalists complain about embargoes when the embargo is their property and one of the very few aspects of control they have over the story coming from their institution/journal. And now a leading US academic has written a book arguing that the entire system is having a corrupting influence on investigative and critical journalism and science journalists should collectively withdraw from the embargo agreements with journal publishers.

In the spirit of the WCSJ, Fiona Fox has brought together all sides of this lively and passionate debate to have no holds barred discussion of all the issues involved..wear a hard hat!

Speakers (in order):

1 Vincent Kiernan, Associate Dean, Georgetown University (against embargoes)

2 Geoff Watts, BBC Radio 4, science programme Leading Edge (for embargoes)

3 Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet (against embargoes)

4 John Davidson, Head of communications, UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (for embargoes)

Chaired by Fiona Fox, Director of the UK Science Media Centre

Click below to listen