September 18, 2020

U.S. Drops Ban on Editing Some Foreign Papers

The New York Times reports that the U.S. government has dropped it objection to U.S. people copy-editing scientific papers whose authors come from countries that are under U.S. trade embargoes. Previously, the government had interpreted such copy-editing as a violation of the trade embargoes, an offense punishable by up to ten years in prison. Though nobody had been prosecuted for copy-editing, the harsh penalty had a significant chilling effect. The policy change comes in a letter from the Treasury Department to the IEEE.

The IEEE, in a much-criticized policy, had previously shunned papers from embargoed countries, most notably Iran.


  1. I’m not sure the ban has been altogether dropped; the article seems to suggest it’s only been “eased” for scientific publications. So: it’s still law and can be revived anytime, and as far as I understand things, it seems to remain in place for other types of publishing endeavors (poetry? novels? journalism?)