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PR guidelines

What is a press release?

A press release is a document that is sent to the media which highlights a new ‘story’ or new ‘research’ that could make a good news article. The press release will contain the main highlights and findings of the journal article.  Usually, a release will be around 500-600 words long, including a quote from the author and a link to the journal article. The press release will need to grab the journalist’s attention and provide succinct facts that can shape a story.  The aim of the press release is to gain coverage for the journal and author of the article.

When is a paper chosen for press release?

  • A journal paper will be press released if it contains content that is news worthy and will be of interest to a large readership/listenership. The content of the paper should be easy to communicate to journalists.
  • The journal article must contain one or more of the following:
  • New research in the field of study
  • Research that sheds a new perspective or alternate perspective on research that received news coverage in the past
  • Research that relates to current news stories and interest, e.g. Syrian politics
  • Publication coincides with an anniversary or date of interest
  • Research in the public interest, e.g. elderly care abuse or pregnancy screening
  • A call to action or a definitive statement of change, e.g. ’the government should do this…’

The most important aspect is to remember that the research must contain a ‘hook’ or main point of interest for the reader and the journalist.  This hook should provide an identifiable audience, main point of focus for the release, and headline for the article. If you cannot identify the hook then it is unlikely that we can.

What stops a paper from being press release?

There can be a number of factors that can stop a paper from being press released. These mainly come from the paper not being news worthy enough or the content being too densely focused on its own field of study.  A few points that definitely exclude a paper are:

  • The paper has already been published online or in some other form, such as a transcript
  • A press release has already been issued by another institution regarding the research
  • The research is dated or does not apply to current trends of discussion in the media
  • The paper discusses an interesting topic but does not supply any new findings or does not propose any definite ‘call to action’
  • A paper on a similar topic has already been published recently

What is the process?

Oxford University Press has a dedicated Publicity Department. If a paper is identified as suitable for a press release, the Oxford Journals publicist will liaise with the author(s) and OUP production to agree an embargo date that is suitable for all. The publicist will then write the press release and circulate to all key stakeholders (authors, marketing, editorial) for comment. The approved release will then be sent to relevant journalists and uploaded to newswire services such as EurekAlert! (science and medicine only) and AlphaGallileo. The author must be available to respond to any interview requests that may come in.

Embargo policy

If you wish to issue a press release relating to your research, it is important to note that once papers have been submitted to Oxford University Press, the content of the paper is embargoed until the time and date of publication agreed. The content of the research should not be discussed or publicized to the media before the official publication date.

We will endeavour to provide a mutually convenient publication date and time for authors, institutions or societies that wish to publicize their research. We ask that you contact the Journals Press Office to discuss a potential press release or article and also the embargo date required.

If authors have embargos on papers, for example if they are presenting their research results at a conference, we will endeavour to accommodate this in the publication process and are able to delay the publication of a paper until an embargo is lifted. Authors should include a note in the cover letter at submission, and also when returning proofs, about the embargo and the exact date and time the paper can be published.

If you require any further clarification on our embargo policy or information on publicity for your article please contact the Journals Press Office: journals.publicity@oup.com or +44 (0)1865 353969

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