Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dog eats dog over embargo row

Last year we predicted that embargo policies were going to come under increasing pressure because of on-line news (Englemed respects embargoes but with difficulty) and also because of the difficulty of observing US Time zones.

Yes, that's what has happened - and an almighty transatlantic row has broken out. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is affronted at European and British, in particular, attitudes and has been busy suspending or removing local outlets from access to its well-established Eurekalert! database. I'm told that organisations as diverse as The Telegraph, Die Welt and Ansa News have been suspended. The biggest row seems to be over the removal of the tabloid Sun newspaper from Eurekalert! over a science story Life on Mars.The Sun was later reinstated as a freelance had supplied the story.

Now the Association of British Science Writers is apparently to conduct a review of embargo policies. The UK Press Gazette has the story and the ABSW blog has some insights into the whole saga. More on this later maybe.

Meanwhile here's another embargo breach today, this time by the venerable old BBC. Wonder whether they will have their access suspended? You have to look at the times and dates - there is a 90 minute discrepancy.

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