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Release of Information to the Public.  

Annette Flanagin

in AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors (11 ed.)

Print Publication Year: 
Feb 2020
Published Online: 
Feb 2020
Item type: 
In many ways, biomedical journals and their editors act as gatekeepers for the release of scientific information to their readers and the public. However, conflicts often arise between journal editors (who have an ethical duty to ensure that the information they publish has been appropriately peer reviewed and assessed for quality) and authors and scientists (who want to disseminate their findings as widely and quickly as possible) and between editors and news reporters (who want to deliver information about new scientific developments as widely and quickly as possible). The announcement of “scientific breakthroughs” at press conferences or through press releases before the data that support the supposed advance have been evaluated and published in a peer-reviewed journal may cause confusion for the public (who may be given misleading or inaccurate information), news media (who may give undue attention to an inaccurate or incomplete claim), journal editors (who may have a policy that discourages publication of data that have already been reported in the press), and investigators (who may forfeit their chance for publication in a reputable peer-reviewed journal by choosing to publish by press conference or through news releases)....