Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dear #AAAS, I am NOT embargoing my own talk & I plan to record it and post afterwards #embargowatch

Just got another email from AAAS regarding their big meeting in February in Vancouver where I am scheduled to talk:
This request for materials is from the AAAS media relations team and is separate from any you may receive from your symposium organizer or the AAAS Annual Meeting office.
Dear AAAS Annual Meeting Participant:

Thanks to all of you who uploaded materials to the AAAS Virtual Newsroom by Jan. 16. For those of you who have not submitted materials or want to submit additional materials, you may do so right up through the meeting. The materials will be available online to reporters, although we can no longer guarantee that we'll be able to copy new
submissions at our expense for placement in the on-site library of speaker materials. We will try to include materials received in the next several days in our copy order, however.

You also can make printed copies (10-15 copies) yourself and ship them to Vancouver so that we can place them in the on-site papers library for reporters. Ideally, press materials should be on-site prior to your presentation. Please see below for appended mailing instructions.

Speakers and organizers can submit materials by going to:

Your individual username and password for the site:

Please provide the following:

-- A one-paragraph biographical sketch (not a C.V.)

-- A short lay-language summary of your talk, beyond the abstract.

-- The text of your talk, if available, or a related (ideally recent) technical paper, either as a Word file or a PDF. PowerPoint presentations are acceptable, but a full text will better serve reporters' needs.

-- Any additional supporting materials, including multimedia files such as JPEG or TIFF photos in high resolution (300 dpi) and/or digitized video clips.

IMPORTANT: Please note that all AAAS meeting presentations are strictly embargoed and your speaker materials should not be released publicly until the time of your presentation.

If you upload your materials by 16 January, we will copy them at our expense for placement in the on-site library of speaker materials, available only to newsroom registrants.

Please notify your institution's press office of your AAAS Annual Meeting presentation as soon as possible. Your press office can help you submit speaker materials to us and can begin to generate media interest.
The thing is - I did not agree to "Embargo" my talk and as I wrote about before, I do not even know what that means.  I figured, in the interest of being "open" about my feelings about this, I should write to AAAS to let them know I was not going to embargo my own talk, and I plan to record my talk and post it afterwards:
To whom it may concern

I am scheduled to speak at the AAAS meeting and I am writing this in regard to the email attached below.  I do not support the notion of an Embargo for my talk and I am unwilling to participate in the embargo. I plan to post information about my talk to the web and to my blog and am writing to specifically let you know I fundamentally do not support the embargo nor did I agree to it when I agreed to give a talk at AAAS.

I also plan to record my own talk and to post the recording and the slides to various websites.  I am not sure if AAAS has a policy about that but wanted to let you know of my plans in the interest of not having any surprises.


Jonathan Eisen
Will report back if I get a reply ... and maybe I can get Ivan Oransky to help make sense out of what a talk embargo means.


  1. It looks to me like they want you to embargo your talk up till the time you give it, i.e. don't post your slides or written remarks BEFORE you give the talk. Even so, I don't think you're obliged to do it, since you didn't agree to embargo anything, but I don't think there's a conflict over posting your video afterward.

  2. Actually my bigger issue is w/ them trying to embargo my talk before I give it

  3. So when do we get a copy of your paper? Unless your presentation is groundbreaking in some sense and the AAAS wants the prestige of your work to rub off on their organization by presenting the results at their meeting the embargo doesn't make any sense... Especially, considering that their raison d'ĂȘtre is the advancement of learning. Learning where? In your own meetings? For your own members? Learning mediated by and through you?

    Very confusing.

  4. I got a response from AAAS. The first response I got said in essence the person would respond but only if I did not post the reply on the internet.

    I wrote back and said I would not and then they sent me a more detailed response.

    In response to that I wrote back and asked multiple questions including

    "1. Is there anything about this I can post on the web --- I have
    gotten dozens of questions about the AAAS talk embargo."

    As of yet I have not gotten a response. I note - I am trying to fully respect the wishes of the person who responded and it was unclear to me if I could summarize their response or not. So as of yet I do not feel like I can post anything about their response.


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