This Just In: Cake!

Scientist on Assignment

Department of Physics Blogs
Published: September

I spent a portion of the day working on a press release. It’s an interesting one with a scientific contribution and immediate international consequences. That’s great. Except…

The press release relies on a submitted manuscript that is referenced as a footnote. In preparing to interview the scientist, I requested the manuscript so that I could do a intelligent interview. But the researchers don’t want to give it to me because it’s not peer-reviewed yet. Does anyone else notice an inconsistency here?

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, name-of-scientists-redacted-here! How do you expect me to cover the science that you advertised and announced to me as worthy of international coverage by releasing a press release WITHOUT letting me even see your claims? What exactly are you thinking that the headline is going to be?

Headline: “Researchers hold press conference: facts to come later”
Quote: “People should expect good stuff”

And it’s not just that I’ve been assigned it by the editor or something. This looks like good science from respected researchers that has been vetted by international organizations with a timely component. All would be good if I could read your preprint.

I know that I’m supposed to be seeing things from a journalist’s perspective but I didn’t think that in 2 weeks I’d be so consistently dumbfounded by my fellow academics.