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Go on the record

Posted by TheFallen on November 07, 2004

In Reply to: Go on the record posted by Bob on November 07, 2004

: : Hi:

: : What is the exact meaning of "go on the record" as in?

: : "A group of journal editors announced a policy requiring all clinical trials to be registered from the get-go to be considered for publication in their journals. They expect this policy to reduce the bias toward favorable results, because researchers will have gone on the record before they know how the study will turn out."

: : Is it to make a public, formal declaration?

: : Thanks.

: : JC

: When being interviewed by journalists, there is a convention that allows some remarks to be "off the record" as long as both parties clearly agree to it. These remarks are given as background only, not to be quoted or attributed to the interviewee. Remarks made "on the record," which is the normal condition, are fair game for the journalist to quote and publish. There's another gray area of quotes "not for attribution," which are words that can be quoted, but not with a speaker's name attached.

I thought that this term originated from the courtroom, where normally a transcript of all statements, examinations and cross-examinations is kept by the stenographer. Very occasionally, a judge will ask for statement or comment to be "stricken from the record", which then effectively makes that comment unowned and therefore unattributable - it's no longer a matter of record.

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