There were some comments about this in a previous posting, but I thought it worth remarking on the unusual situation that papers have started to appear reproducing plots of new data from the PAMELA satellite, even though no such data has been officially released.
This all seems to have started with a July 31 talk at ICHEP 2008, with slides here, but evidently some other slides of preliminary data were flashed on the screen. There was a news story in Nature about this, but still no official release of data. Then, on August 20th there was this talk at idm2008, with no slides made available on-line, but interesting slides again flashed. Evidently some enterprising theorist decided to do some of his or her own data acquisition.
Soon, a preprint on Minimal Dark Matter predictions and the PAMELA positron excess was on the arXiv, complete with PAMELA data, with the notation:
the preliminary data points for positron and antiproton fluxes plotted in our figures have been extracted from a photo of the slides taken during the talk, and can thereby slightly differ from the data that the PAMELA collaboration will officially publish.
There are now at least two other papers on the arXiv featuring PAMELA data, evidently from the same source, here and here. Andrew Jaffe has a new blog posting up entitled Stealing Data? where he expresses discomfort with this situation. I can’t quite see that one is “stealing” data if it is being presented at major conferences.
Are there any of my readers out there who can tell us what’s up with PAMELA?
Update: Nature has a new article about PAMELA being “outed by paparazzi physicists”. One of the paparazzi, Marco Cirelli, is quoted as saying that “we had our digital cameras ready”, and claiming that the PAMELA people at the conference didn’t have a problem with this. On the other hand, a PAMELA PI is quoted as being “very, very upset” about this.
And I should have linked earlier to this posting at Resonaances: Hot Photos of PAMELA.
Update: According to Science News, the problem is not a Nature embargo. They just haven’t finished a paper yet:
“We plan to have final results ready by early October and submit a paper to a peer-reviewed journal,” Boezio told Science News. Until then, he says, the findings remain preliminary, and “We prefer to withhold further comments.”