If you want to publish and are from Iran, you better think again: Scientific Censorship

This is an angry post:

I was completely astonished and irritated when I read an article by Pedro Sousa about how Iranian people are suffering repression and censorship by international sanctions. These punishments spread to the scientific community with journals refusing the publication of papers, just because the author(s) is/are from Iran. Unbelievable, especially if like me you believe in a research inclusive community based in ethics, in the right of research and dissemination of knowledge.

Here is a clear and authentic example of this madness:

Hello Dr. Eshlaghy:

We appreciate your submission (“Process Based Agile Supply Chain Model According To BPR And IDEF 3.0 Concepts”) to the Journal of Supply Chain Management. Unfortunately, we cannot consider your manuscript for publication due to U.S. sanctions with Iran pursuant to the Department of the Treasury, O.F.A.C. and U.S. Executive Orders #12957, 12959 and 1nte 3059.
Nancy Finger
Editorial Assistant
Institute for Supply Management(tm)

We definitely can’t approve this type of behavior and censorship. So, as I also believe in action, we all should stop subscribing and buying (for us and our universities) this type of so called scientific journals, at least until they change these non-sense guidelines and endorse a real scientific spirit and a double blind review process, from editors to reviewers.

6 thoughts on “If you want to publish and are from Iran, you better think again: Scientific Censorship

  1. Marcos Caceres

    Unfortunately, I can’t read Sousa’s article, but I think you are being over reactive and your anger is misguided. Firstly, Iran is a massive censor of Western scientific information; so if you tried to publish in one of their journals, you would have no chance [1]… So, you should be getting just as angry at the Iranians about that.

    Secondly, one state has every right to enforce [UN?] sanctions on another state, particularly disgusting backwards oppressive Islamic states such as Iran, which should be sanctioned heavily for the way they treat their people and behave towards other states (e.g., Israel). If the Iranian scientific community does not like having their papers rejected by the West, then they should reflect on why they are labeled a rouge state and ask themselves some hard questions about the way their society operates and try to change their religious totalitarian regime.

    FYI, Iranian scientist do contribute to scientific discourse [3].

    Also, the Iranian author could just send their paper to another journal in a different state (e.g., to a EU country). Or they could simply publish their results on the open Web (oh wait! Iran heavily censors the Web too [2]).

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Iran
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Iran
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran#Science_and_technology

  2. Marcos Caceres

    Also, this has nothing to do with the scientific process or the journals. The is nothing the journal could do because the sanctions against Iran [1] by the United States reads as follows:

    “Corporate criminal penalties for violations of the Iranian Transactions Regulations can range up to $500,000, with individual penalties of up to $250,000 and 20 years in jail. Civil penalties of up to $50,000 may also be imposed administratively.”

    However, the sanction does say that “Information or informational materials” are exempt. However, by reviewing the paper, the journal is providing a “service” which is strictly prohibited: “such exportation is prohibited if the exporter knows or has reason to know the U.S. items are intended specifically for use in the production of, for commingling with, or for incorporation into goods, technology or services to be directly or indirectly supplied, transshipped or reexported exclusively or predominately to Iran or the Government of Iran.”

    So, boycotting the US journals is ineffective as it’s the US government who is imposing the sanction (not the journal, unless you are asking that the journal behave in an illegal manner, which they may choose to do so for political reasons and suffer the legal consequences).

    So, this again just goes back to the wider problem of the relationship between Iran and the US. The Iranians have known for twenty years that they can’t ship information to the US, so, if they actually have some real science to contribute, they should just publish in one of the fine journals not in the US and stop complaining. The US is not the only place to publish. And if they have problems internationally, as I said before, they should take a hard long look at themselves, their religion, and their government and ask why other states don’t want to trade with them.

    [1] http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs/iran/iran.pdf

  3. Bárbara

    Well, it’s your opinion and I also believe in pluralism of thought. But, let me emphasize, that my anger is not misguided and I’m not being over reactive: this is what a think and what I feel and you won’t change it, specially because I totally disagree with your reasons.

    First, I think you’re falling in the large and well spread prejudice against Iranians. It’s amazing how the State is confused with people (and Iran has seventy million inhabitants). Yes, it’s a repressive and dictatorial State, and like you said, it must be sanctioned heavily by the they treat their people….. “THEIR PEOPLE”. You are labeling all Iranians and that’s sad. Not all are fundamentalist. In Iran, and I speak for personal knowledge, as I have some Iranian friends, a lot of people fight and die daily for their freedom and ideas opposite to the regime, even if they are starving. But, unfortunately, these constant episodes are never in the media: the mainstream media gatekeeping is still a powerful mindset.

    Second, I’m not saying that states haven’t the right to enforce sanctions, but this shouldn’t be a reality in the scientific community. It’s totally against the scientific spirit.

    Third, a great number of Iranian scientists fight the regime and you have no idea how they live and how their families are threaten. It’s hard to fight the State and at the same time the millions of fundamentalist believers….but they don’t give up. Come for instance to an ISA international conference and speak with Iranian sociologists. Ramin Jahanbegloo, a famous political scientist, was even arrested by Iranian authorities and he doesn’t even live in Iran. What you know about Iran you know it comfortably in your couch, checking the “news” about evil Iranians with your mac and drinking chocolate milk.

    Fourth, just because they censor their scientists and outside scientists it doesn’t mean we should do it to them as well. This is more than a valid reason for why we shouldn’t do it ….we simply don’t believe in that. Values are above vendetta, don’t you think?

    And finally, it’s amazing how you say they should send their papers to a different state/country. So, they can be extremely bright and their research extraordinary….but wait, they can’t send it to the best Journal….cause they are Iranians! So, they must be happy with C and D journals. What a form of censorship!!!! And of course, the open web is the obvious solution for them….but like you say IRAN censors the web, so logically it’s hard to put it there. Web access is completely controlled and contents manipulated by the STATE. And as not everyone is a hacker, it’s kind of hard to go around this. Oh, and you might think, so why don’t they leave Iran? Some just can’t get visas, sometimes not even to participate in a conference (and can’t get visas for all their families as well)and some of them just want to stay fighting….strange for us who live with everything, right?

  4. Bárbara

    Oh, when I posted my comment I didn’t see your second post: So how come some US Journals publish Iranian authors and other don’t?…there’s always a way of going around this, but some journals just try harder.

  5. Bárbara

    No D, i’m done with my hardcore rebel days. I’m still fighting, but now with other tools and in a different field 😉

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