Wednesday, 16 March 2022

The war in Ukraine: directives to French researchers from CEA and CNRS

My previous post reproduced a letter from Maxim Chernodub, suggesting how French scientists could help Ukrainian colleagues, and also calling French scientists to not boycott Russian collaborators. However, it seems that we will not have much choice in the matter, at least if we follow the official directives, which I will paraphrase below.

Directives from CEA (received by email)

Russian scientists may remotely attend online conferences, but only as individual experts, i.e. provided they do not represent an institution. 

Already submitted publications are OK. But it is forbidden to submit a new publication with a coauthor who is affiliated in Russia. 

Press release from CNRS

CNRS is suspending all new scientific collaboration with Russia. Russian researchers who work in France may continue their activities. 


From CNRS we only have a press release so far. The precise directives, when they come, may well look like CEA's. It is unclear how these directives will be enforced. Most scientific journals still allow submissions from Russia-based authors. 

As far as I can tell, such drastic measures against Russian scientists are unprecedented. No similar measures were taken in other cases of human right abuses, including wars of aggression. 

For researchers who want to keep collaborating with Russians without violating the official directives, technical loopholes might help: the directive from CEA is about submitting publications, but preprints are not publications, right? Co-authors may not be affiliated in Russia, but could they publish as private individuals, without citing an affiliation?

The war in Ukraine: a letter from Maxim Chernodub

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western researchers have been wondering how to help our Ukrainian colleagues, and how to behave with our Russian colleagues. A letter by French-Russian-Ukrainian physicist Maxim Chernodub has been circulating, which offers valuable perspective and advice on these issues. (It was written on 27/02/2022.) Below is the text of the letter, reproduced with the author's permission.