What happened: Following a recent statement by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that it barred Huawei scientists and 68 of the company’s affiliates from participating in both its peer review process and non-public meetings on technical subjects, researchers in both academia and the private sector responded with varying degrees of shock and disappointment. Many took to social media to voice their concerns about the potential impacts of IEEE’s actions on academic inclusivity and whether other popular research-oriented platforms might also be at risk. Reddit’s Machine Learning community has been particularly vocal about the news.
Why it’s important: The influence of New York-based IEEE on the global scientific community is undeniable: it is the world’s largest technical professional organization, with more than 422,000 members. It publishes nearly a third of the world’s technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics, and sponsors more than 1,900 conferences in 103 countries. According to a screenshot of an apparent IEEE email that has been circulating on social media, the organization enacted the ban over fears of “severe legal implications,” likely referring to recent U.S. government sanctions on Huawei.