"In normal times, the four large physics experiments using proton collisions at
Cern’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland publish numerous scientific
articles a year. But in March 2022, the number of new research papers by the
LHC experiments fell to zero. The reason: a lack of agreement on how to list
Russian and Belarusian scientists and institutes, if at all. The temporary
compromise, in place up to now, is not to publish.
Publications are the hard currency of research, used for exchange of
information and evidence of individuals’ and funding agencies’ contributions.
The four largest LHC experiments comprise collaborations of thousands of
scientists and engineers, with articles typically credited to all members of
According to sources at Cern, after the invasion of Ukraine some members
objected to co-authorship with Russian institutes and even with individuals
working for them (making up about 7% of the collaborators). Fedor Ratnikov, a
Russian physicist, explains that no publication policy has satisfied the
required two-thirds majority of the participating institutes in each
collaboration. “We have Ukrainian collaborators for whom this question is
naturally extremely painful. [But] most of my Ukrainian colleagues do not
extend responsibility for the invasion to their colleagues from Russian
institutes. I would say that some of my EU colleagues are much more radical.”
Andreas Höecker, spokesperson for the Atlas experiment, emphasises that the
issue is “solely related to the form of the institutional acknowledgment, given
the statements of high-level representatives of Russian academic institutions…
and the links of high-level funding bodies with the Russian government”.
Since March, the four LHC experiments have kept preparing new articles, sending
them to journals for peer review and freezing their publication. The
unpublished pipeline now includes more than 70 pieces."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics