Procedures and Principles
To the best of its abilities, ESO endeavours to ensure that its press releases are factually correct representations of the underlying scientific work and are written in a way that avoids misinterpretations and exaggerations. In order to ensure that the public can consider ESO press releases as reliable sources of information, ESO has adopted the following procedures and principles.
- ESO science press releases are not themselves scientific papers, but report on science claims made in bona-fide scientific papers. Accordingly, ESO science press releases are usually based on formal papers that followed a standard peer-review procedure and have been accepted for publication in a scientific journal.
- In exceptional cases, an ESO science press release may be based on a paper that has been submitted to a journal but has not yet been formally accepted. In such cases, the press release will clearly state that the scientific paper is "only" a submission.
- In addition to the standard peer review system, which is conducted independently of ESO, an ESO science press release is subject to an internal review involving senior scientists of the organisation. Their task is to verify the high quality and solid basis of the scientific claims put forward in the original scientific paper, and to verify that statements in the press release correctly reflect those claims. The senior scientists' agreement is required in order to issue a science press release.
- Should in the course of time a scientific claim reported in a science, organisational, or photo release be proven false, ESO will insert a proper note of retraction in the original press release, which is retained on the ESO website.