Leakegate: Jonathan Leake gets Sunday Times banned from JAMA

JAMA/Archives has issued a special notice:

SPECIAL NOTICE: The embargo on the Archives of Internal Medicine paper (see below) was broken by Jonathan Leake of The Sunday Times of London. In response to this violation, reporters and editors at The Sunday Times will no longer have pre- or post-embargo access to any JAMA/Archives materials.

I think, perhaps, that other journals should preemptively ban The Sunday Times. I'm not going to link to Leake's story -- the BBC story on the study is here.

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Ed Yong's comment at Embargo Watch is a wheeze:

Youâre kidding me. Leake again? Iâm starting to think that thereâs some nominative determinism at work here.

With such rampant incompetence and disregard for journalistic ethics, how does he manage to keep his job?

I'm afraid the evidence at this point suggests that this is how he managed to get his job.

Commentators, do you guess that the Sunday Times (I mean its executives) wants the fame of being banned from scientific journals rather than their contents?

By Kooiti Masuda (not verified) on 08 Mar 2010 #permalink

Pinko Punko you forgot:

4) Get kicked off of all the sites giving access to embargoed papers.

5) Sunday Times gets a bad reputation for science reporting.

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 08 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, at the rate they are going, the Sunday Times will eventually have no access to the sources of any news stories at all, and they'll have to completely fabricate their reports.

Oh, hang on.........


Uh oh. The Climate Conspiracy is BANNING Leake to hide the TRUTH!

@Rattus: Leake proved a long, long time ago that the only reputation he cares about as regards the ST's science reporting is for reporting the big headlines before anyone else and through his actions, he's made it clear that he won't be hindered in his mission by trivial inconveniences such as good-faith agreements or factual accuracy. Given Rupert Murdoch has allowed him to keep his job for so long, this flagrant disregard for journalistic integrity is obviously proving profitable for them, so why should they care?

Although the Schadenfreude tastes good, at least in the short term, this JAMA ban on access (and the PNAS ban) will have little real effect on their reporting. They have a sister paper (the JAMA press release about the ban seems to relate only to the The Sunday Times) and stable mates, and there are other, journalistic, ways of getting the same story that could well circumvent an embargo anyway.

The JAMA press release, therefore, raises some questions.

Do The Times staff still get pre- and post-embargo access to JAMA materials? If they do, then why? They are not "unrelated".

Since Leake has been named in the JAMA press release, does he get access rights to JAMA articles if he's writing for The Times, or someone else?

I don't think it would have been Leake's decision to go to press on this; more likely the editor's decision I'd have thought (though Leake would presumably have had discussions with the editor on the pros and cons of doing so). If it wasn't Leake's decision to run, would it be fair to embargo him with papers other than The Sunday Times? I think not, as that would seem to run counter to natural justice -- though, given his somewhat jaundiced and inaccurate output, I am in some accord with the cries of "tough sh*t" that I can hear from the chorus.

Also, on one level I have some sympathy for The Sunday Times and other Sunday papers in general, as the embargo expires a day and a half after they go to press. That sympathy doesn't extend far, though. The Sunday Times initially agrees to the embargoes (and what are agreements for otherwise?), and the other Sunday papers seem to cope. They could also easily run it on the Tuesday in their sister organ, The Times. Moreover, they could trail the story in The Sunday Times print edition, in say a line or two, and point to their online edition with a time when the embargo is lifted and the story available.

There's actually a blog called 'embargo watch'? That's perhaps the most entertaining part.

By carrot eater (not verified) on 09 Mar 2010 #permalink

It was once said that there were two certainties in life: death and taxes.

Rupert Murdoch has disproven that on both counts.

So far.

Rupert understands power, media and newspapers. He has nothing but hatred and contempt for 'journalism'.

If you want to whine about it, go ahead.

If, like Tim and others, you want to do something about it: come visit sites like stopmurdoch and start taking simple action to hold his ridiculous rags up to public contempt.

Nobody can do it alone.