Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

More on the end of the trade embargo on editing

The April 9 issue of Science Magazine has two OA pieces on the lifting of the trade embargo on editing submissions from citizens of embargoed nations.
  • The first is a news story by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, U.S. Eases the Squeeze on 'Sanctioned' Authors. Excerpt: "The Treasury Department has reversed a controversial ruling that would have required U.S. scholarly journals to obtain the government's permission to edit papers from countries under a U.S. trade embargo. A new policy directive, spelled out in a 2 April letter to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is expected to resolve months of confusion about how to handle manuscripts from those countries."
  • The second is an editorial by Donald Kennedy, A Welcome Retreat at Treasury. Excerpt: "We couldn't see a 'national interest' for the United States in this rule, and certainly the interest of the international scientific enterprise was being poorly served. After all, the unfettered exchange of information encourages scientific progress in all nations, including the United States....A more recent OFAC stunt then extended the Treasury Department's policy into a new area. On a week's notice, some 40 U.S. academics hoping to attend a neurology meeting in Cuba were told that they couldn't go under the terms of OFAC's general license and couldn't get a specific license either....Science appreciates Treasury's willingness to own up to a mistake and is grateful to IEEE and the other groups who led the effort to get the policy changed....The real story here is that this reversal sets an example for an administration that is notoriously reluctant to admit error. Perhaps we can hope for more of the same. The Treasury Department itself could set the next example by lifting the Cuba prohibition and declaring that basic research symposia and laboratory visits are not appropriate subjects for 'trading with the enemy' sanctions. Who knows, the self-correction virus might even spread --to a White House announcement of a connection between anthropogenic emissions and global warming! We dream on."