Magazine article Academe

Government Scrutinizes Scholarly Publishing

Magazine article Academe

Government Scrutinizes Scholarly Publishing

Article excerpt

In April, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) ruled that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) can proceed to engage in its standard peer-review process and do specified types of editing of articles from countries under U.S. sanction, including Cuba and Iran. The IEEE had stopped editing such articles after learning in 2001 of embargoes maintained by OFAC, a section of the U.S. Treasury Department charged with administering trade sanctions imposed on countries judged by the president to be national security threats. The embargoes affected certain aspects of editing manuscripts submitted by authors frum sanctioned countries.

In December 2002, the IEEE asked OFAC to exempt its entire publishing process from the embargoes. The following September, OFAC exempted the IEEE's peer-review process but maintained that editing still required a license. The IEEE then sent OFAC further information about its editing procedures. In April 2004, OFAC ruled that the organization can engage in its standard publishing process as long as any editing it does fits within eight categories of allowable alterations.

These changes, which apply to other publishers of scholarly journals, may include "correcting grammar and spelling to conform to standard American English," "ensuring that the author has supplied a biography and a photo," and "labeling units of measurements with standard abbreviations. …

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