Trade Sanctions & Publishing

Elsevier is committed to the principles of freedom of expression and we believe strongly in the international dimension of science. Sharing information about science and health improves lives and creates new insight and value. We acknowledge that governments have legitimate interests in promoting human rights, security and terrorism concerns, the rule of law, and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are committed to finding a balance between these interests, which will sometimes involve challenging government over-reach or over-interpretation.

Countries/Entities affected

It is important to understand that several countries maintain lists of individuals and entities with whom it is illegal to conduct business, and more than one law can apply to an individual transaction.  Additionally, several countries also implement controls on the export of “dual use” items (goods, services and technologies): these are items which have commercial but also potentially military or proliferation applications, even if not obvious, for instance nuclear related software like MCNP-derivate codes and ORIGEN code. If you are a customer or an author from one of the following countries, you might be affected by these trade sanctions and export control laws: Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Burma, Syria or Crimea.  Further if you have been identified by such governments as a person or an entity involved in some of the activities noted above, you may also be affected by such laws.

Information Materials Exemption/General Publishing License re US imposed Embargoes

The US sanctions laws include an Information Materials Exemption and a General License for Publishing. Such exemption and license permits a broad range of publishing activities for academic researchers for book and journal publishing, and also permits the sale of such material into countries where such US sanctions apply. Certain services such as training are not allowed, and software may also have some restrictions.

The exemption does not apply to, and therefore an embargo applies to, individuals or legal entities specifically identified (by either the US or the EU) as being involved in security or rights issues (“Specially Designated Nationals”). Individuals employed by a Specially Designated National would fall under this embargo, unless the individual is acting, and e.g. submits a manuscript on its own behalf and not on behalf of the Specially Designated National.

Elsevier-specific advice from OFAC after acceptance of the manuscript

After a letter from OFAC addressed to Elsevier in October 2015, our guidance for publication of manuscripts by authors from the affected countries has changed. This advice was confirmed by the guidance from OFAC dated October 2016. Here you can read our Public Release of the guidance and below is a summary of the advice:

If you are an author located in a sanctioned country, and you are not a Specially Designated National, your article may be edited or published in an Elsevier journal if:

  • You are acting in your personal capacity, in other words “not as an official representative or otherwise on behalf of a sanctioned government”; or
  • You are acting on behalf of your government institution, where the primary function of the institution is education or research; or
  • You are publishing on behalf of your government agency, where that agency is not primarily an educational or research institution and the editor, reviewer or publisher does not provide substantive editing (i.e. substantive or artistic alteration or enhancement of the work).