The ATS considers original manuscripts for publication only if their primary findings have not been reported elsewhere. Authors may talk with the press about their work, but should coordinate with the ATS Communications staff in advance, so that reporters are fully aware of the ATS policy and understand that papers are embargoed until after publication. Manuscripts remain privileged documents and will not be released to the press or the public before publication, unless it is done under embargo, under the auspices of the ATS. The ATS may refuse to publish, despite acceptance for publication by an editor, if the information in the manuscript has been disseminated prematurely in the media.
The embargo policy rests on the premise that publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the appropriate validation and forum for original research. The peer-reviewed journal should be the primary source of information about the research, as the peer-review process is an essential step before the information is publicly disseminated and discussed.
The media embargo period for a manuscript begins with the time of an author's submission and ends when the article appears online under “Articles in Press” (or the ATS rejects the manuscript).
A publication that publishes the key findings of an article published in the ATS journals prior to online publication in Articles in Press would be in violation of the ATS embargo policy. An author or other interested party who releases the manuscript or its key findings to the media prior to online publication, unless under the auspices of the ATS Communications Office, would also be in violation of this policy.
ATS Media Releases and Complimentary Online Subscriptions for Journalists
Each month, the ATS distributes a press release highlighting the most newsworthy articles in that month's publication. These press releases are reviewed in advance by the appropriate journal editor and the ATS scientific consultant, to ensure scientific integrity and faithfulness to the original manuscript. The ATS notifies authors in advance when their studies are expected to garner media attention, and obtains permission to distribute contact information to the press. Journalists are given the names and contact information for the authors, and are given access to full text of the articles through complimentary online subscriptions, or by request. All journalists who agree to respect the embargo policy are offered advance news releases and the opportunity to apply for a complimentary online subscription to the journals. This ensures fair and equal access for all journalists who respect the embargo policy. Any journalist who violates the embargo policy will be removed from the distribution list and his or her online subscription will be cancelled.
The embargo policy serves scientists, journalists, and the public. The policy enables authors to interact with the media in a controlled fashion and benefit from the subsequent coverage. The peer review system gives journalists, and the public, confidence in the integrity of the science. Premature release to the media denies them that confidence as well as the ability to obtain informed reactions from other scientists.
The ATS does not wish to hinder communication between scientists. Material previously published in abstract form or presented at scientific meetings will be handled in the usual manner. Scientists are permitted to discuss their manuscripts with their peers in general terms, but should not discuss or distribute any portion of an unpublished manuscript in a manner that may directly or indirectly result in the distribution of the materials to the press or general public prior to the embargo date. Scientists also should not encourage or participate in the publication of their findings by any news media, including journalists attending scientific conferences and lectures. The ATS may refuse to publish, despite acceptance for publication by an editor, if the information in the manuscript has been disseminated prematurely in the media.
Official ATS Documents
Documents, including all drafts, remain privileged information and will not be released to the press or the public before publication, unless it is done under embargo, under the auspices of the ATS Communications staff. Again, the ATS does not wish to hinder scientist-to-scientist communication, and committee members may discuss documents with their peers in general terms prior to publication. However, committee members may not distribute any draft or portion of any draft to their peers or to the press. Committee members may not state or imply that documents or positions are approved or endorsed by the ATS until the ATS Board of Directors has issued its final approval. Scientists may feel free to discuss previously published results, but should not comment on final conclusions or recommendations expected to be included in the document. The American Thoracic Society is the official author of all ATS documents, and the ATS holds the copyrights to the document and all working drafts.
ATS Policy for Publishing New Data, Effective February 2016
It is the policy of the ATS that all scientific research-related content included in an abstract to be presented at the ATS International Conference be withheld until after the abstract has been presented at the conference. This includes all interim and final results, whether or not endpoints were met, and any other data that would indicate study results.
Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis if:
- the company in question can demonstrate that it is legally-mandated to issue a news release prior to the conference OR
- study results have been submitted to ClinicalTrials.gov.
Data or numbers should not be included in a news release; the scientific content should include only legally required information.
The research-related content of the release should also state that the final results will be presented at the ATS International Conference, if that information has been confirmed.
Any questions about the policy should be directed to Dacia Morris, Media Relations Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-315-8620.