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ISSUE 3 - May 2008

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Publicising a Science Discovery:
It’s All in the Timing — Two Case Studies
(page 26-29)
Ray Villard

Many factors are involved in deciding when a scientific result is ready to be presented to the news media and public. The most newsworthy science is often cutting-edge science and can inherently contain disagreement and controversy among scientists. Even results from peer-refereed papers are not free from criticism if scientists feel that the findings have been too widely publicised and lack caveats. How does a public information office balance these factors to ensure that newsworthy science is reported in a timely manner? This article presents two case studies from the research areas of exoplanets and astrobiology.