Talk:Science by press conference

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Always a fraud?[edit]

The article, with the examples cited, currently gives the impression that "Science by press conference" is always a fraud, when it can also just be a tactic of attention-seeking but legitimate researchers, who make the press conference before the paper is published. We need a little bit less of a black-and-white presentation here.--Pharos 14:41, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


The phrase also condemns different behavior in different fields. For instance, scientists working in fields that put an emphasis on the value of fast dissemination of research, like HIV treatment research, often first and most visibly disseminate research results via conferences or talks rather than through printed publication. In these areas of science, printed publication occurs later in the process of dissemination of results than in some other fields. In the case of HIV, this is partly the result of AIDS activism in which people with AIDS and their allies criticized the slow pace of research.

Wow, that's one hell of a rationalisation!!— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:25, February 11, 2006


It seems troublesome that this article has a photograph with a caption that amounts to saying "Here is an example of something other than science by press conference." Would anyone be opposed to its removal? Simões (talk/contribs) 18:54, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Still, this article could benefit from a photograph. Does anyone have a photograph from some press conference which fits this article's subject? It seems like this article describes a type of event which would be heavily photographed. If anyone new to Wikipedia has a picture and has trouble uploading it then contact me. Blue Rasberry 14:44, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I looked through Commons, and there is a category of press conference images. The one that comes closest to the topic of this page is File:Newsconf.jpg. However, I think that it suffers from the same problem as did the image that was previously removed, in that its use would imply science by press conference even though it isn't actually an example (except to the extent that it is a press conference dealing with a scientific subject). Another option would be an image of one of the cold fusion scientists, but that would only be a photo of a person, not of a press conference. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:13, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

This article needs sources[edit]

Can anyone recommend an article or book which talks about "science by press conference"? I just added an "original research" tag to this article because it seems to be written based on someone's general observations. Blue Rasberry 14:45, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Tags were appropriate, but now removed due to cites. Much better sourced and not OR. Term has been in use since 1980s. -Yamara 22:30, 6 January 2011 (UTC) (


I have moved this here for discussion:

"In 2006, a company called Steorn claimed to have released a type of perpetual motion machine."

While this is certainly publicity-seeking outside peer review, it wasn't technically a press conference. They purchased an ad in 2006 which ran in The Economist. [1] Perhaps we should have a section on examples that are not strictly press conferences but exemplify other forms of publicity-seeking? Jokestress (talk) 20:22, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Another Example: Sequencing the Human Genome[edit]

The Wikipedia Human Genome Project page says "There have been multiple popular press articles reporting that the genome was 'complete.'" A couple of times a year the newspapers and local news channels breathlessly announce that the Human Genome has been sequenced, but when you read the newspaper article thee is always a small disclaimer buried on page three saying that they really finished X percent of step Y. Guy Macon 03:03, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Arsenic life - press conference by NASA in late 2010[edit]

A team of NASA scientists, lead by Felisa Wolfe-Simon, held a press conference to announce the discovery of a bacterium capable of incorporating arsenic in lieu of phosphorous into its biomolecules, most notably DNA and RNA. This was viewed as an attempt by NASA to promote the idea of extraterrestrial life in order to secure federal funding. As of mid 2012, the claims made during the press conference appear baseless. (talk) 08:36, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Another example on the less controversial side.[edit]

Here's a recent Science article mainly in how one team jumped to doing a press conference, while another waited until publishing to refute the press conference claim:

We've got good examples that are either extremely controversial, fraudulent, etc. This instead describes more of a "good faith" over-enthusiasm that seems to be more common than the fraud aspect and could be a good source describing the inner workings of how scientists interact with the press and the challenges they have. No plans for content myself for the time being, so just thinking I'd drop this one by if it's of use to anyone in the future. Kingofaces43 (talk) 20:09, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Ida ?[edit]

In a 2009 press conference (timed to coincide with Darwin's birthday), scientists held a press conference to announce the discovery of "IDA", a remarkably well-preserved ~15 million year old specimen of fossil lemur, believed to be an important source of information about the break between early lemurs and later primates. Should this be added to this list? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dmiller0122 (talkcontribs) 21:35, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

No, it should not. "Science by press conference" means that the Scientific Method has been bypassed due to political or economical reasons, that is they are pretending to "do science" by making proclamations at press conferences, proclamations which are now backed by science-based evidence. Scientists may hold press conferences. Damotclese (talk) 16:31, 20 January 2016 (UTC)