IEEE reverses Huawei peer review ban, citing government clarification

By Tony Chan

The International Electric and Electronic Engineering association has executed an about turn on its decision to ban Huawei and its employees from peer review and editing duties on its journals.

Last week, the IEEE had sent an email to the editors of its technical journals advising them to remove and bar Huawei employees from peer review and editing duties. The email followed the US Department of Commerce’s placement of Huawei and 68 of its af􀏐iliates on an “entity list” of companies restricted from open access to US technology and market.

At the time, the IEEE said it was forced to limit Huawei’s participation in non-public activities of the organisation in order comply with US Export Administration Regulations that govern firms on the entity list.

However, on Sunday the IEEE – the world’s largest professional organisation – announced it had removed the ban, saying it requested and received “clarifcation” from the DoC regarding “the applicability of these export control restrictions to IEEE’s publication activities.”

“Based on this new information, employees of Huawei and its afiliates may participate as peer reviewers and editors in our publication process. All IEEE members, regardless of employer, can continue to participate in all of the activities of the IEEE,” the organisation said. “Our initial, more restrictive approach was motivated solely by our desire to protect our volunteers and our members from legal risk. With the clari􀏐ication received, this risk has been addressed.” Meanwhile, two other global organisations, the SD Association and the Wi-Fi Alliance, have also reversed earlier decisions to disassociate from Huawei. Both organisations are based in the US and had announced the removal or suspension of Huawei from their membership list, but have since reinstated the Chinese company.

However, it is unknown whether the reinstatement is the result of a 90-day temporary reprieve of the restrictions on Huawei or a permanent listing.

(This article first appeared in www.commsday.com)