The United States has decided that a prominent scientific society can edit journal articles submitted by authors in four embargoed countries, reversing a ruling it made last fall that even the most minor corrections of grammar and spelling in those manuscripts were forbidden. But it is unclear how broadly the new policy applies to other American academic publishers whose editing processes may differ from that society's.

In a letter written last Friday (April 2), but only made public on Monday (April 5), the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that “style and copy editorial changes” made in accordance with the standard practices of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in its 100+ journals are exempt from OFAC rules regarding Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and Libya. The letter also reaffirmed that peer review, the way IEEE customarily practices it, is permitted.

Arthur Winston, IEEE's president, said...

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