Science Journal Editor Says He Resigned After Publisher Said He Can’t Boycott China

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David Curtis, a professor at University College London who resigned as editor-in-chief of a scientific journal in December 2020, claims that he quit after being told he could not call for a boycott of Chinese research.

Curtis told the Guardian his departure as editor-in-chief came after a sequence of events that started when the publisher, John Wiley and Sons, refused to allow the publication of an article he co-authored calling for a boycott of Chinese researchers over the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province last September.

“I resigned because publication of the article was blocked by senior managers at Wiley who should have no say in the content of a scientific journal. I was told that Wiley has got an office in Beijing, the implication being that publication would make it difficult,” Curtis said.

The article was also rejected by four other journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet. (RELATED: Nike CEO Pledges Allegiance To China, Says It’s ‘A Brand That Is Of China And For China’)

After the rejection of the article, Curtis rejected several submissions by Chinese researchers, telling them, “In view of the complicity of the Chinese medical and scientific establishment in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs I am not considering any submissions from China.”

Following the rejections of the Chinese submissions, he had his resignation take immediate effect.

In a statement online signed by interim editor-in-chief Mark G. Thomas, editor-in-chief designate Rosemary Ekong, and publisher Mark H. Paalman, the company said, “The actions of Prof. Curtis did not represent journal policy, nor did they represent the views of others involved in the management of the journal. We have contacted the authors of the wrongly rejected submissions and will reconsider their manuscripts.”