News Brief: New Guidance on Using Embargoes Effectively

Embargoes can be a useful tool for giving reporters timely notice of forthcoming research findings. But when not handled properly, the embargo process can also be a major source of frustration for both reporters and public information officers (PIOs). A new (and admirably concise) guide outlines ten rules that can help ensure that embargoes are useful, rather than obstructive.

The guide comes in the form of a brief article by Ivan Oransky, a reporter, editor and founder of the Embargo Watch blog. (You can find a two-part interview I did with Oransky here and here.) The article, “If you must use embargoes, here’s how to do it right,” was published recently in an unlikely outlet – the journal Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health.

I won’t go into the guide’s details; it’s just over two pages long, and I urge you to read it yourself. However, its advice ranges from the obvious (e.g., “don’t embargo material that’s freely available online”) to things you may not have thought of (e.g., if related news is coming out from another institution at about the same time, you should coordinate your embargoes).

For more on this subject, check out my previous posts about the pros and cons of embargoes and how I learned to live with embargoes (whether I liked it or not).


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