The words science by press conference are pretty much universally used in derision. Wikipedia has a list of results that where rushed into a press conference and later turned out to be erroneous. However it’s much harder to find results released this way that do seem to be correct.

For the purpose of this question an early press release is any release where date of the first non-scientific conference is the same as, or earlier than, the date the paper is made public (e.g., publishing in a journal or posting it online as a pre-print), and a press conference is organised by the researchers (i.e., it can be reasonably considered their intention to release the result that way).

Are there examples of science by press conference that do not seem to contain any major flaws?

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    What is “the date the paper is made public”? The date of a pre-print publication or the date of a peer-reviewed publication? Also, why are you so insistent on the release during a non-scientific conference? Press conferences have little in common with scientific conferences apart from the name anyway, and a scientist could as well release a press notice and give interviews without ever doing a press conference.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jan 7, 2016 at 15:06
  • @Wrzlprmft the date of pre-print, unless anyone things that's a strange choice?
    – Jekowl
    Jan 7, 2016 at 15:21
  • Please edit your question to reflect this.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jan 7, 2016 at 15:24
  • I think mentioning the concept science by press conference here is somewhat misleading. As you describe in the second paragraph of the question, you want to look at any research results that were first released via general press announcements or similar, whereas science by press conference denotes the specific practice of seeing general press publication as more or less the only reason to do research from the get-go. Jan 7, 2016 at 15:41
  • @O.R.Mapper Oh, I didn't realise that, thanks. Will edit to clarify.
    – Jekowl
    Jan 7, 2016 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


While it is often the case that premature announcement leads to errors and problems, this is not always the case: other external circumstances may push an announcement to happen before publication or pre-publication.

An example is the announcement of the dwarf planet Eris, which was preponed by concerns regarding the announcement of dwarf planet Haumea. While this occurred before the intended paper, and without all of the information that would eventually be in the paper, the data at the time of announcement was solid and has suffered no retractions to the best of my knowledge.

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