Australopithecus sediba: Was the Embargo Broken

I will have more to say about the find itself this evening (hopefully), in the meantime time there have been more than a few accusations of someone breaking the embargo on the story. Ivan Oransky at Embargo Watch looks at the issue. Turns out it was a case of a reporter doing some interesting detective work and scooping the competition. The reporter in question emailed Ivan Oransky and I would like to quote one small part of it – a part that raises some profound questions about science journals and the embargo process:

We did not receive any embargoed press releases on this paper or the find until Monday morning and gathered information about the story in a perfectly reasonable journalistic manner. On Saturday evening I also checked to see if there were any embargoed press releases on Eurekalert and could find none.

Can this be an embargo break if no official embargo has been issued?

Should Science be able to put an embargo on information that has not come from them and has been obtained from other sources? [bolding mine - afarensis]

Does this mean that if I speak to any scientist who is hoping to have a paper in Science in the future, then I am prevented from publishing anything about this until it appears in Science?

The bolded question is , IMHO, incredibly important. I would say that, no Science does not have that right nor should they. But that is just me and I could be wrong.

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  1. [...] Australopithecus sediba: Was the Embargo Broken (anthro-blogging) If you’ve been blogging long, you’ve probably encountered a news [...]

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