RUSSIA: Professors chafe at scholarly screening

Word spread this month among faculty members of St Petersburg State University: according to a document signed on 1 October, they have to submit their work to administrators for permission before publishing it abroad or presenting it at overseas conferences, writes Ellen Barry for The New York Times.

The order 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. Administrators say they are simply bringing the university into line with Russia's 1999 law on export control, passed after a decade in which some impoverished scientists sold strategic technology to foreign customers.

But some professors are protesting, saying such a system is could be a step towards broader academic censorship. 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 organisations, contracts with foreign entities, curriculums to be used for teaching foreign students and a list of foreign students, along with their plans of study.
Full report on The New York Times site