Alright. I understand the prohibition on not taking photos of presenters’ data.
However, prohibiting Twittering?
Use of cameras and all other recording devices (this includes digital, film, and cell phone cameras, as well as audio recordings) are strictly prohibited in all session rooms, in the Exhibit Hall, and in all poster and oral presentation sessions. Twittering (see above) and other forms of communication involving replication of data are strictly prohibited at the Annual Meeting or before publication, whether data presented are in the Exhibit Hall, poster area, poster sessions, or invited talks, without the express permission and approval of the authors. Persons caught taking photos, video, or audio recordings with any device or transmitting such information with any device will be escorted out of the hall or rooms and not be allowed room re-entry. Repeat offenders will have their meeting badge(s) revoked and will not be allowed to continue to attend the meeting. This policy is necessary to respect the willingness of presenters to share their data at the meeting as well as their publication opportunities.
Prohibiting e-mailing from the meeting?
Prohibiting talking to fellow scientists when one returns from a meeting?
I’m only being halfway facetious when I say that I expect a letter threatening action for copying verbatim the paragraph above.
Or am I overinterpreting the warnings? Do they just mean no TwitPic’ing?
P.S. I did at least learn from the newsroom page that professional or semi-professional bloggers can be considered members of the working press on a case-by-case basis but that paid & registered ASCB members can get press credentials.
Update 06 December 2009: Below in comment 10, we received the following clarification from Dr Rex Chisolm, Chair of the ASCB Public Information Committee (and Dean for Research at Northwestern University):
Let me try to clarify on behalf of the ASCB.
I serve as chair of the ASCB public information committee and have discussed this with the executive director of the ASCB. The prohibition as written is being interpreted (…although I can see why) too restrictively. The real goal is to limit specific tweeting of prepublication data, not the general concepts, the enthusiasm (or not) for an idea heard at the meeting, or comments about the meeting itself.
The ASCB enthusiastically endorses spreading of exciting stories from its members and encourages an open discussion about the meeting. After all, science is about debate and discussion. On the other hand it is important to respect authors presenting data prior to publication. Hence the policy against cameras and against tweeting of SPECIFIC data elements.
I am working the the ASCB leadership to “officially” modify the policy on the ASCB website.
But I want to assure all meeting attendees that as long as the rights of the authors to not have specific data widely disseminated without their permission, we would like to encourage sharing about the meeting.
Chair, Public Information Committee
American Society for Cell Biology
Thank you, Dr Chisolm, for clarifying this issue for our readers and, I anticipate, for attendees of the American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting who may be a bit confused.