Peter Suber, More on applying trade embargoes to scientific editing

“This is one issue on which I see eye to eye with the publishers.  It was a scandal that the Treasury Department ever applied trade embargoes to scientific editing, as if ironing out an awkward sentence or fixing a diction error were analogous to exporting munitions.  The settlement is a major step forward, but the continuing requirement for a government license to edit manuscripts submitted by scientists from “enemy” nations is a serious impediment to the freedom of the press and the dissemination of research.”

Should trade embargoes apply to scholarship?

“The US-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has 350,000 members worldwide, including 2,000 members in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and the Sudan.  Because the US has a trade embargo against these nations, the IEEE has felt obliged to deny these members all the goods and services prohibited by US trade laws.  This has meant blocking these members from reading the IEEE online journals and barring editors of IEEE journals from editing their papers.  As the IEEE reads US trade law, it could accept papers from these members but could not edit them, since editing was a “service” that falls under the trade embargo.  Six other international scientific and engineering societies contacted by the _Chronicle of Higher Education_ did not read the law the same way, and edited accepted papers by any author.”

Should trade embargoes apply to scholarship?

“The US-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has 350,000 members worldwide, including 2,000 members in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and the Sudan.  Because the US has a trade embargo against these nations, the IEEE has felt obliged to deny these members all the goods and services prohibited by US trade laws.  This has meant blocking these members from reading the IEEE online journals and barring editors of IEEE journals from editing their papers.  As the IEEE reads US trade law, it could accept papers from these members but could not edit them, since editing was a “service” that falls under the trade embargo.  Six other international scientific and engineering societies contacted by the _Chronicle of Higher Education_ did not read the law the same way, and edited accepted papers by any author.”