June 19, 2004

Restraints on Scientific Collaboration

You may remember that a few months ago, the Treasury Department determined that editing manuscripts from countries under sanction constituted a criminal violation. This would mean that science, industry, and literary works produced in countries like Cuba, Iran, or Sudan, could not be edited or translated in the U.S. for publication. Many were concerned about the possible damage to the exchange of knowledge and free speech, and the rule was reversed.

Yet this is not an administration to fix anything without leaving a landmine embedded in the patch job. The Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), issued the correction, and according to the June 4th edition of the journal Science (not available online), that poison pill is a line that reads as follows: "a collaborative interaction ... between an author in a sanctioned country and one or more U.S. scholars resulting in co-authorship [is considered] a prohibited exportation of services."

The article relates that though journals can now obtain a license to edit pieces from these countries, but co-authorship must now be approved case-by-case. Existing findings from a joint research project between American and Iranian seismologists in Bam have been shelved for now, other papers are in limbo, and many planned joint projects have been put on hold indefinitely. Leading figures in the scientific community and the scientific publishing industry hold that the ruling violates First Amendment rights, and is likely to discourage collaboration.

Posted by natasha at June 19, 2004 08:22 AM | Civil Liberties | Technorati links |

This regime wants our only collaborative activities to be hostile bluster.

Have they shut down SETI@home yet? Assholes.


Posted by: Scorpio at June 20, 2004 02:00 AM