Iranians scientists could be left out in the cold

“Just received the following notification as an Editor of a Journal. What do you think? May be a way around this is to anonymise all journal reviews; i.e. the reviewer has not idea where the paper is coming from and who wrote it. Isn’t science above politics? What about all the MSers in Iran; should we ignore them?”

US editors and reviewers can no longer handle submissions by
authors employed by the Government

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 US editors, US Elsevier staff and US
reviewers are now unable to handle scientific manuscripts where any of the
authors are employed by the Government of Iran. This includes the research
departments of the various oil and gas companies which are deemed to be
entities of the Government of Iran.

We realize
that this OFAC regulation will cause some inconvenience in your role as an
editor 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 editors, US Elsevier staff and US reviewers. Please be
aware that editors, Elsevier staff and reviewers from outside the US may still
handle these manuscripts and that this OFAC regulation does not pertain to
manuscripts where the authors are based at Iranian academic and research
institutes. Manuscripts originating from a clinical setting that are not
government run, for example, a hospital or clinical practice are also exempt
from this regulation.

To view the
official OFAC regulation, please click here.

In practice
the result of these sanctions will mean that:

  • Submissions
    where any author is based in Iran, and is not at an academic and research
    institution, cannot be handled by US-based editors, US Elsevier staff, US
    reviewers, or any US citizens based outside of the US.

  • If
    an Iranian author has dual affiliations (eg. university and government),
    their submission cannot be handled by US-based editors, US Elsevier staff,
    US reviewers, or any US citizens based outside of the US.

  • Affiliations
    of Iranian authors should therefore be checked, and any manuscripts which
    fall under this OFAC regulation delegated to a non-US editor, before

  • When
    assigning reviewers, affiliations of Iranian authors should also be
    checked, and any papers which fall under this OFAC regulation should only
    be sent to non-US reviewers. (As an editor you should do what is
    reasonable to determine the nationality of a reviewer e.g. check their
    email address. This check does not extend to emailing reviewers directly
    to confirm their nationality or location). Unless there is specific
    knowledge that a non-US-based reviewer is a US citizen, editors can send
    such submissions to reviewers based outside the US.

  • If
    your journal workflow involves all submissions being handled by US-based
    Elsevier staff, they will reject these manuscripts outright before they
    reach you.

  • Should
    there be no suitably qualified editor or reviewer, please reject the manuscript

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

a result of OFAC sanctions all editorial staff who are US-based/US nationals
are unable to handle scientific manuscripts which are authored by Iranian
scientists, employed by the Government of Iran. Based on this OFAC regulation
we are unfortunately unable to handle your manuscript. We wish you success with
your submission to another Journal.”

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

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


  • What stupidity. Is this what Obama stands for? Is this the Yes We Can sound bite stood for?

    Land of the free, indeed. Americans are as tightly controlled and regulated as anywhere else in the world, if not more so. This just proves it.

    I suppose the aim is now to make a pariah state even more inaccessible. This will enable the Americans to launch another pointless war in order to ascertain precious resources.

    China has a thirty-year oil and gas deal with Iran. There is no way they will tolerate America's on-going warmongering efforts, no matter how hard it tries.

    Iran is one of the most important regions when it comes to MS and its research. This is a political act perpetrated by fascist American politicians, not an intellectual one.

    Now watch the idiot British government kowtow to America's latest act of demented foreign policy.

  • Excuse me. I do not think the British would contemplate this.
    So much for freedom of speech or writing.

  • Also totally agree with the idea of anonymous submissions. this would limit some of the guff published by teflonmen and women

  • MouseDoc, your comprehension of international politics is almost as appalling as your nonsensical adoration of pharmaceutical money-maker drugs that have no discernible impact on MS.

    What the Americans are doing is completely wrong and immoral. Why should scientific papers be anonymous when authorial credit holds so much value in academic circles?

    Britain will, in my opinion, refuse to repudiate the American government's actions towards Iran, just like they always back America's obsequiousness for Israel's policy on Palestine.

    MouseDoc, stick to playing with your mice friends and leave the politicking to those that are concerned about world affairs.

    • Dre Dre
      Whilst we are trading words (look back at recent posts e.g.

      -simply "You miss the point".

      Maybe ask for an explanations of things you do not get, rather than shooting from the hip. Less agro.

      Having anonymous papers at submission means that the reviewers do not know who the authors are, if it is written in a certain way. which is how science papers used to be written with no"we did this, we showed etc" Therefore reviewers judge the content and not the place where the work was done or importantly who did the work.

      I have seen papers where the other reviewer gushed about the study just because it was work from this or that lab, when there were fundamental flaws in the experimental reporting or analysis. The peer review process is not infalable. Look in the rags and see if there is stuff that you think is too good to be true. We were talking about irreproducibility a few days ago. This is part of the process

      If you (Dr Dre) had to use your real name when you comment maybe you would not be so combative. I am meek and mild in my alter ego.

      For this reason the reviewer is often anonymous so there is less problems if they say the work is not good enough…rejection hurts.

      If I knew who the reviewer was who has sat on my paper for 3 months (you normally get 2 weeks to a month to reviewer a paper) and couldn't be arsed to say they were too busy had a conflict and do somehing…I would like to give them a kicking:-)

      Once the review process is over, of course you include the title page that says who did the study. Once the referee and editor process says publish,,,it is published.

      Hope this helps in comprehension of the publishing process.

      Search "publication" on the blog and you will get a a few tastes of the publication process.

      Next before you tar all Americans with a brush, this is a dictat to avoid compromising positions. Whilst the OFAC may want one thing I would suspect that bigotry is the furthest thought from the the vast majority of American Scientist/Clinicians who give up their free time to do the peer review process.

      "Britain will refuse to repudiate" …..I doubt they would be bothered to comment on this particular issue.

      What they think about the politics in Iran or anywhere else for that matter is a different thing.

      As to world affairs….Dr Dre for PrimeMinister?

    • Oh please no….
      What does Dr Dre stand for – we know he stands against just about everything in the MS world that people do to try to slow down the relapses/course/progression.
      Are you just an ignorant, mad troll Dr Dre – or do you know things that we don't? (as in, 'we' being the MSers who read this blog and appreciate the work and effort of the docs and profs.)

    • I'd like to say it's always useful to have a Devil's advocate but in the case of Dr Dre I'm not so sure. He/she has a grandiosity that is very unappealing, no matter that most of his/her opinions are flat out wrong. Still, one of our functions is to gently point out the error of these opinions. It's fun!

By Prof G



Recent Posts

Recent Comments