At 24 Media Labs, we want to help scientists promote their science and give journalists a richer ecosystem from which to source great science stories. As such, we feel it is important to have a policy on embargoes. Without doubt we will get asked about this, so here is our policy.
We like to keep things simple:
- We do not use embargoes on any content we publish,
- We will never embargo content,
- We do not support the use of embargoes,
- We respectfully ask you not to send us "embargoed content". If you do, we will politely disregard any restrictions you might have put on the material and publish it when we feel the time is right.
Here is why we have this policy
Embargoes have been used widely for many years by publishers of scientific content (journals) on the notional basis that it will maximise media impact and give journalists the best possible chance to produce factually accurate, engaging content. On the face of it, that sounds largely justifiable. There are recognised issues around embargoes, and here is a specific example of why embargoes can be a problem for writers. Nevertheless, embargoes remain a mainstay of journalistic practice and of scientific publishing organisations.
So why are we, at 24 Media Labs, saying we will not use them or respect them?
It's simple. We believe that the enhanced content provided by our contributors means that building stories from it will be easier and quicker than under the current system of press releases and embargoes. We think embargoes will unfairly skew the availability of content and disadvantage writers that would not have access. We want to achieve a fair system where the best writers flourish. Restricting availability via embargoes would run counter to this ambition.
Finally all the content available on 24 Media Labs and particularly the Alternative Science News Service is based on (soon to be) published peer-reviewed scientific content. We won't publish content and news packages until the scientific paper is published. Embargoes simply won't work with this structure.