By Hamish Johnston
More embargo-related cheek from a prestigious journal…
There is an editorial in today’s Nature about the effect that science bloggers and digital camera owners are having on the discussion of preliminary results at conferences.
You may recall the physics paparazzi incident in which conference attendees photographed slides of preliminary data from an experiment and then posted their analyses on the arXiv.
The editorial asks if it is desirable — or even practical — to stop conference goers from publicizing someone else’s preliminary results?
“Nature has made the case that blogging by researchers is good. Critical discussion of worthy results should not in principle be restricted to walls of a conference hall or even the pages of a journal”, says the editor.
But wait a minute, isn’t this the same journal that places embargoes on its papers, forbidding scientists from speaking to the public — and presumably blogging — about their work until the paper is published?
Indeed it is, and the editorial concludes that in some situations it is appropriate to ban blogging from conferences. The argument being that such closed shops would encourage the free exchange of controversial scientific ideas.
The same can’t be said about the journal’s embargo policy.