Elsevier has been analyzing changes in US trade sanctions laws and regulations affecting publishing, particularly for researchers who are government employees, with a view to clarifying laws and regulations to support a "country-neutral" view for scholarly and academic publishing. We originally wrote about this issue in May in an article titled "Trade sanctions against Iran affect publishers."
In our view, science and society benefit from a "freedom to publish" model that operates outside economically- and politically-oriented sanctions laws. Authors and editors around the world should feel free to engage with each other in order to improve scholarly communications. Many authors, editors and scientific societies have written to us over the past several months supporting the "freedom to publish" views.
We have now sent a letter to the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which manages sanctions issues, requesting clarification of the 2007 General License and other laws and regulations that touch on publishing issues, to ensure that government employee researchers can publish, and to ensure that the "publishing exception" covers all countries that might be subject to sanctions. The letter to OFAC can be found below.[divider]