The American Diabetes Association (ADA) inadvertently triggered a recent twitterstorm when it banned those attending its annual meeting from photographing or tweeting meeting slides. A blog post from Pharmaphorum published a selection of tweets from attendees angry at what they considered to be an outdated approach to social media that went against the principles of data sharing.
The ADA, which did allow journalists to apply in advance for exemption from the ban, argued that the move was necessary to prevent the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted – and sometimes unpublished – material. A number of other conferences have also introduced similar policies.
While the ADA has said that it will re-evaluate its approach following this year’s meeting, the debate over live tweeting at conferences highlights the need to strike a balance between the sharing of data and an author’s right to ownership of their work.