Press releases from scientific institutions, which previously only addressed journalists, are nowadays reaching the public directly via the Internet. But naturally they lack a more comprehensive classification of the topic as well as any underlying background information in comparison to a journalistic presentation. At the same time, not every media company has science editors on staff who can easily classify scientific topics by subject. Consequently, the authors of press releases are more obliged than ever to ensure the quality of their texts. In order to render transparency as to which criteria the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina applies in this respect, it publishes the principles for its press releases:
1. Press releases are issued in response to a particular event. Activities or publications by the Leopoldina that are either specially or currently relevant and interesting to the media target group are the main occasions. Other current events originating outside the Leopoldina will also prompt press-related activities, for instance the dispatch of an expert list.
2. Press releases provide comprehensive, transparent, candid and accurate information about events and topics. They generate interest and address readers with an emotional appeal. The use of exaggeration for this purpose is not acceptable.
3. Each topic addressed in press releases is placed in its proper societal and scientific context to the greatest possible degree.
4. Press releases are written in short sentences and in a manner that is universally understandable. Technical terms are used sparingly and are always clarified.
5. Readers of press releases must be able to recognize that no "pure truths" are conveyed here, but that opposing opinions exist, about which they can obtain further information. Science is presented as a process in which findings are revised time and again if necessary.
6. Statements and directives found in press releases are accredited by name and accompanied by links to the corresponding sources. In particular, if a reference is made to a scientific publication, that source will be named.
7. In press releases on publications of science-based policy advice, readers are made aware of the workings of policy advice, e.g. when options for action are indicated or where recommendations are given.
8. The participation of other institutions in events and publications is adequately presented in press releases.