Should science transcend political conflicts and wars?

This morning I posted a note about a claim that a US journal refused the publication of an Iranian research study because it was conducted in Iran Are US science journals not allowed to publish Iranian research?

I asked the questions: When do political sanctions go too far? Is it smart to sanction science and scientific research?

To this post, I got responses like the following on Twitter:

Thats sad!.. Science should be separated from politics!.. he can really publish it in EU or some other better place than US.

that is sad, I am sure that we can do something in the international forum of physics in this case.I will write a letter immediatly.

that’s probably bcse of the sanctions, Europe may too. Unfortunate falling thru the cracks of politics.

I also received this very valid question from another Twitterer:

do you think it’s OK to to have scientific relations/research with israel for example ?

When I visited Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2006, I covered the issue of Palestinian-Israeli scientific collaboration and wrote this article: Israeli-Palestinian research: walking on eggshells.

You will see that scientific collaboration between “enemies” is complex and does not have easy answers.

What do you think? Does science transcend political tensions, occupation, and war? Should it? Or is science part of the systems within we work and live and thus it is – and perhaps should – be affected by them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this through comments to this post or by responding to the following poll:


  1. the poll is kinda confusing, each item should be treated separately, do u mean for individuals level or country/diplomatic level. for example, my government -which i didn’t elect- has good relations with israel i’m not and the opposite with Iran, i have no problem studying there, but my gov. has. what kind of conflicts, does egyptian-algerian current situation is considered a conflict? not for me.wars, german scientists left germany -their home country- and went america -the clear enemy then- .i think occupations is the clearest among all , u invaded me, i’ll turn your life into hell !
    Oh that’s a damn complicated question! :o)

  2. I think science has nothing to do with politics. At all. The greatest thing of science is that it is international and transcends boundaries, and it’s always been like this, even if there has been a few exceptions that only prove the rule.
    Another great thing is that the competition in the world of science is quite different from the competition in the world of politics or business. Because the winner is not the one who gets more power or money, but the one who gets closer to the true understanding of nature, which of course has nothing to do with people’s silly war and ideology games.

  3. The questions supposes that science is in itself “neutral”, which is of course a political statement. You see the problem?

    The question is problematic but application need not to be. Science is always biased and if you take this into consideration then it’s fairly easy to transcend suprficial differences, as long as you do not confuse science with truth.

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