Should science have nationality: Huawei employers banned by IEEE from paper reviewing
Yesterday, the email from IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) for “replacing all reviewers from Huawei in IEEE journals” was exposed, which claimed that it bans scientists and experts employed by Huawei from participating in thesis reviewing and non-public meetings on technical subjects. In the context of trade frictions, this incident provoked politically sensitive issues. In the mail, it is clearly stated that IEEE has to make such decision according to the items in FAQ document, otherwise, “it may have severe legal implications.”
However, before this, Huawei and IEEE have established good and in-depth cooperation. As we can imagine, Huawei’s related activities such as contributions, articles, conference sponsorships, and branch association positions may be widely affected.
Shock waves among Chinese academic community
New York-based IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization. For academia, IEEE’s statement must be a shock that can change the current global academic landscape. Many experts and scholars in this field have expressed their opposing point of views through different approaches. This has been a viral topic within the science community on various platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, etc.
Liu Zhiyuan, an assistant researcher in the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Tsinghua University, said in Zhihu (a Chinese question-and-answer platform) that if such a confrontation is continued, there will be double backups on international academic organizations, academic journals, academic conferences, and technical standards.
Chen Yiran, a professor at the Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering at Duke University, directly suggested that it seems that it was time for Europe and Asia to establish its own IEEE/ACM.
Moreover, Professor. Zhang Haixia from Peking University believes that this statement is “far beyond the basic line of Science and Technology.” In her open letter addressed to IEEE president, she said that she would quit the editorial board of the two journals.
Although public opinions have been constantly denounced and academics continue to protest, IEEE still insists that its decision is reasonable and legal. In its public statement, IEEE has always been committed to providing members, volunteers and the entire professional and technical organization with a broad platform and support for academic activities. These services are always open to all members from any business. However, when providing the services, the IEEE must comply with legal obligations set forth in the jurisdiction of the United States and other jurisdictions.
From the current public statement, we can see that the attitude and position of IEEE to make this decision is very firm. It is still difficult to predict what kind of chain reaction will happen after that, or if it will bring out any actions in other fields. But at any time, we are all insisting that “Science is a truly global undertaking”, only in this way can we achieve the common development of mankind.