Monday, August 20, 2012

Cuban computer scientists can publish with ACM and IEEE

In a comment on an earlier post, Muchas Gracias wrote that publishers, including prominent computer science and technology professional societies ACM and IEEE, would not accept articles by Cuban authors for fear of Treasury Department fines. I checked with Deborah Cotton, who handles rights and permissions at ACM, and it turned out that that was their current policy.

But, unbeknownst to ACM, the ban has been lifted. A lawsuit challenging the ban was filed in 2004 and settled in 2007. It turns out that scientific and technical publication is now permitted. (More detail, including copies of correspondence with IEEE, is available here).

Well, it took a Federal law suit, but Cuban computer scientists and engineers and others can now be published in the US without the publisher obtaining a license.

Ms. Cotton told me that the information on the law change was forwarded to the ACM Director of Publications and/or the Publication Review Board for a formal resolution. Bernard Rous, ACM's Director of Publications, followed up with a search of the ACM Digital Library, which turned up 13 articles with authors from Cuba. He pointed out that most seemed to be co-authored with authors in Brazil or Spain, which is also consistent with Muchas Gracias' claim.

I also checked with Fran Tardo, External Communications Manager at IEEE, about their policy. She told me IEEE had requested and been granted a general license for publishing in December 2004. Based on this ruling, IEEE developed its policy for the handling of manuscripts from authors in embargoed countries. As I read it, it seems to be saying that an author from an embargoed nation would be treated the same as any other author.


  1. These are great news, really. It makes me very happy. Thanks a ton for taking the time to do this research.

  2. There is something that still bugs me about this topic. As far as I know there is a small remuneration with every article that gets published on those magazines, how will this work with the laws from the Treasury Department that forbids (almost) all transactions from US to Cuba?

    1. Good poinnt.

      I have published refereed articles in ACM publications, primarily the Communications of the ACM and in conference proceedings, and a couple in IEEE Computer and IEEE Expert, and never been paid. Maybe they think I am a Cuban :-).

      ACM has paid me for columns I have written for the Communications of the ACM, but those are not refereed research articles.

      Given the attitude of our Treasury Department, I would expect a Cuban (or Iranian or North Korean) columnist, if there were one, would have to volunteer his or her article.

    2. Hi Larry, have you checked if there are any new articles from Cubans at ACM? I made a quick search and I saw a few names from people I know.

    3. There isn't a way to search for articles by author's nationality is there?

      What were the ones you found? It would be cool to track ACM articles by Cubans.

    4. You mentioned in your post:

      (...)Bernard Rous, ACM's Director of Publications, followed up with a search of the ACM Digital Library, which turned up 13 articles with authors from Cuba.(...)

      So I assumed there was a way of retrieving articles from Cuban authors. What I did was just searching "Cuba" in the ACM website and a recognized a few names from the authors of the resulting list.

    5. One can search the ACM Digital Library, but there is no explicit way to look for authors from a specific nation. I tried searching for the word "Cuba" in the abstract or title does not return Cuban authors -- a few articles by people like me who are not Cuban.

      Bernard had done the previous search -- I can ask him how he did it.

  3. Foreign students however do not have this limitation since they are allowed to sign up for a personal dial-up connection with ETECSA, here the limitation will be the high price of this kind of connection.


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