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I am asking the question in the context of the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war.

Is it safe to publish research papers in cooperation with Russian academics from Russia in terms of future careers?

I mean, would there be any chance of marginalization of someone because his/her paper has a co-author who is a Russian living in Russia?

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4 Answers 4

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Depending on the journal it may not be possible to publish an article if one of the authors is affiliated with a Russian university. Acta Physica Polonica B (a fairly well-known physics journal) has the following message on its website:

In protest against the invasion of Russia (with the support of Belarus) on an independent and sovereign territory and the people of Ukraine, on March 1, 2022 Poland suspended scientific collaboration with the Russian Federation. Following the decision of the Rector of the Jagiellonian University, which suspends cooperation with Russian universities and research centers, Acta Physica Polonica B stops publishing articles by authors with affiliation to institutions from the Russian Federation and also from the Republic of Belarus.

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There was a vote among scientists in the ATLAS cooperation at CERN, with the result that they will keep working together with Russian individual researchers, but cut all ties with the major Russian institutes and funding agencies. This might not reflect the sentiment in other parts of the scientific community, but it gives you a sample from a relatively large group.

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Science and scientist have traditionally held themselves as being above nationality. If you merely work with someone from Russia, then any objections to it would be close-minded and contrary to tradition. Even during the cold war, collaboration was difficult but not frowned upon.

Now, I for instance would object to any collaboration with Russians that fosters directly or indirectly the war effort, but recognize your right to come to a different conclusion.

However, nobody can give you a guarantee. We live in strange times, where for example the Iris data set is not supposed to be used any more because Sir Ronald Fisher had some then common, but now repugnant views.

So, take this as a vote from someone in academia that you should be safe and let's see what others think.

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The problem with "is it safe" questions on the open internet is that there is a bias against answering "yes". Give an ominous warning and you sound smart; give a false assurance and you get egg on your head because someone somewhere will run into trouble.

I have never seen any pushback against collaboration with Russian academics in pure science, and I would consider such pushback closeminded and ill-advised. This does not mean that it does not exist, since academics can be closeminded and ill-advised, but then again you might not want to rely on the opinions of such people in your career anyway.

I am much more loathe to collaborate with Russian institutions, particularly when it comes to ones with official ties (e.g., math contests) or odious administrators (at this point, basically any Russian university). The "lending credibility" effect can be significant here, and even if it is not, by strengthening these institutions, you are reducing the push-factor for Russian students and researchers to emigrate, which is not an effect I would want to have.

In applied project with realistic military applications, I would not collaborate with anyone physically in Russia period. How far these "military applications" reach is a tricky question (networking? coding theory? video compression?), and some amount of eyeballing will be necessary at the boundaries.

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    Anything that can be used as a tool can be crafted into a weapon. The wonderful story of US stealth technology getting the boost it needed from unclassified Russian research into what was thought to be non-military applicable.
    – David S
    May 1, 2023 at 17:09
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    @DavidS: This kind of lateral use doesn't rely on personal collaboration; you can just as well read research papers. Not much you can do to prevent it, short of classifying anything remotely applicable, at which point you aren't doing science any more. May 1, 2023 at 17:30

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