Politics, Science and publishing


I just had the following email from Elsevier, I am sure it will be coming to other journal editors and editorial board members from other publishers too… As a scientist I am deeply saddened to see high level government politics coming into play when it comes to saying who can and cannot publish in journals. I certainly do not condone what Iran or its government says or does (or for that matter any country that has less than positive relations with the US)..But please leave this kind of politics out of science.

US owned journals can no longer handle submissions by authors employed by the Government of Iran

Dear Dr Sean Ekins,

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions. As a result of OFAC sanctions we have been made aware that all US owned journals are now unable to handle scientific manuscripts where any of the authors are employed by the Government of Iran. These sanctions include the research departments of the various oil and gas companies which are deemed to be entities of the Government of Iran. As your journal is a US owned journal these sanctions will therefore be of relevance for your role as an editor.

We realize that this OFAC regulation will cause some inconvenience but Elsevier is legally obliged to ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to avoid submissions from Iranian government agencies and companies being handled by US owned journals. Please be aware that this OFAC regulation does not pertain to manuscripts where the authors are based at Iranian academic and research institutes and also manuscripts originating from a clinical setting that are not government run, for example, a hospital or clinical practice.

To view the official OFAC regulation, please click here .

In practice the result of these sanctions will mean that:

All new submissions should be checked and those submissions where any author is based in Iran, and not at an academic and research institute, should be rejected outright

Where an Iranian author has dual affiliations (e.g. university and government) their submission should also be rejected outright

When rejecting manuscripts which fall under this OFAC regulation please use the new EES Decision Term “Reject – OFAC Sanctions” and the following text:

“As a result of OFAC sanctions all US owned journals are unable to handle scientific manuscripts which are authored by Iranian scientists, employed by the Government of Iran. Based on this OFAC regulation and that Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods is a US owned journal we are unfortunately unable to handle your manuscript. We wish you success with your submission to another Journal.”

For more information read the article by Elsevier Senior VP and General Counsel Mark Seeley, Trade sanctions against Iran affect Publishers

We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. If you do have any questions please contact your Publisher.

Sent on behalf of (deleted by me to avoid abuse)
Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods


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  1. Wendy says:

    I’ve lived through this before – see http://warr.com/freetopub.html

    The ElsevierConnect item you cite says “this is limited to editors who are US nationals”. I guess as an ACS editor who is not a US national I am unaffected this time – maybe.

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