Daniel W. Drezner

So that’s why there are fewer Russians presenting at the International Studies Association

A theme common to all social scientists in the United States is the complaints lodged at "human subjects committees" or "institutional review boards" (IRBs).  These are committees set up to ensure that faculty research projects do not lead to the mistreatment of the human subjects that are the focus of said research.  This is all to ...

A theme common to all social scientists in the United States is the complaints lodged at "human subjects committees" or "institutional review boards" (IRBs).  These are committees set up to ensure that faculty research projects do not lead to the mistreatment of the human subjects that are the focus of said research.  This is all to the good for those researchers who are giving human subjects experimental drugs and treatments, mostly to the good for researchers who are running psychological experiments on test subjects, and one whopper of an inconvenience for the rest of us who have to get IRB approval for completely unintrusive investigations. 

In the New York Times, however, Ellen Barry writes about some new requirements for professors at St. Petersburg State University who wish to present overseas.   Their new requirements will make me a little less likely to bitch about IRB procedures: 

Word spread this month among the faculty members of St. Petersburg State University: According to a document signed on Oct. 1, they have to submit their work to administrators for permission before publishing it abroad or presenting it at overseas conferences.

The order, which was circulated internally and made its way onto a popular Internet forum, says professors must provide their academic department with copies of texts to be made public outside Russia, so that they can be reviewed for violation of intellectual property laws or potential danger to national security….

Though scientists have long been subject to export control rules, the St. Petersburg order applies to the humanities as well. It asks for copies of grant applications to foreign organizations, contracts with foreign entities, curriculums to be used for teaching foreign students and a list of foreign students, along with their plans of study.

Deans will clear the work for publication or submit it to an internal export control commission for review, said Igor A. Gorlinsky, the university’s vice rector for scholarly and scientific work. The order was issued to clarify a rule that has been on the university’s books for a decade, but that existed “only on paper,” he said. Dr. Gorlinsky added that the plan might be adjusted or streamlined in response to faculty feedback….

He said he doubted that work in the humanities would be affected unless it violated the university’s intellectual property rights.

What state secrets could there be in the sphere of political science?” he said (emphasis added).

Ouch. 

A theme common to all social scientists in the United States is the complaints lodged at "human subjects committees" or "institutional review boards" (IRBs).  These are committees set up to ensure that faculty research projects do not lead to the mistreatment of the human subjects that are the focus of said research.  This is all to the good for those researchers who are giving human subjects experimental drugs and treatments, mostly to the good for researchers who are running psychological experiments on test subjects, and one whopper of an inconvenience for the rest of us who have to get IRB approval for completely unintrusive investigations. 

In the New York Times, however, Ellen Barry writes about some new requirements for professors at St. Petersburg State University who wish to present overseas.   Their new requirements will make me a little less likely to bitch about IRB procedures: 

Word spread this month among the faculty members of St. Petersburg State University: According to a document signed on Oct. 1, they have to submit their work to administrators for permission before publishing it abroad or presenting it at overseas conferences.

The order, which was circulated internally and made its way onto a popular Internet forum, says professors must provide their academic department with copies of texts to be made public outside Russia, so that they can be reviewed for violation of intellectual property laws or potential danger to national security….

Though scientists have long been subject to export control rules, the St. Petersburg order applies to the humanities as well. It asks for copies of grant applications to foreign organizations, contracts with foreign entities, curriculums to be used for teaching foreign students and a list of foreign students, along with their plans of study.

Deans will clear the work for publication or submit it to an internal export control commission for review, said Igor A. Gorlinsky, the university’s vice rector for scholarly and scientific work. The order was issued to clarify a rule that has been on the university’s books for a decade, but that existed “only on paper,” he said. Dr. Gorlinsky added that the plan might be adjusted or streamlined in response to faculty feedback….

He said he doubted that work in the humanities would be affected unless it violated the university’s intellectual property rights.

What state secrets could there be in the sphere of political science?” he said (emphasis added).

Ouch. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner