I’ve just been asked rather at the last minute to knock something out on cannabis and psychosis, and since I like to keep the news desk very happy these days, even though I have absolutely nothing interesting to say on the subject, I’m going to charge through reading the Lancet study over a sandwich: but one thing struck me as absurd. The media is full of people writing about this academic journal article, and yet I couldn’t get hold of it with my Athens login, because it’s not been published, so I had to pull in favours, and call around mates.
This means that the media – of all people – are a class privileged over academia, doctors and the public when it comes to access to the data; that for the whole of the media storm across Friday and Saturday, no interested academic, or member of the public, or blogger could participate, unless they were part of the chosen set, because they simply couldn’t see the paper.
This is utterly unacceptable to my mind.
Here is the paper.
Time and again we’ve covered the venality and incompetence of the media: and yet laughably the popular debate on this publicly funded academic work is conducted exclusively behind closed doors – by oldmedia employees – in a privileged world from which you, all doctors, and all academics are deliberately excluded.
Media embargoes should lift at the same time as formal publication, and not a moment earlier. The commercial commentariat have not earned their special status.
As of 1:45pm the Lancet cannabis paper, and indeed the rest of tomorrow’s edition of the Lancet, are suddenly magically available on their website.
I’m taking down my link as it is premium content, they charge $30 for you to read this work (funded by the Department of Health, for anyone who feels angry about this I recommend reading about the open access journal movement).
Interestingly the Guardian have now decided to post the paper for free for download here.
I don’t know if they have a special arrangement with the Lancet where they pay the $30 per download for this premium content, or if they’re just trying to be punk like me?