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Researchers from countries of 'concern' to the US — including India, Pakistan and China — could soon be required to seek a licence to operate equipment on the US list of 'controlled technologies'.

US university officials are worried that enforcing such legislation, aimed at controlling the transmission of sensitive technology to particular countries, will hinder the research activities of international scientists and students. In addition, the definition of a controlled technology seems hard to pin down, since legal definitions could differ greatly from scientific ones.

Government officials insist that the regulation is not new and is merely being 'clarified'. They add that universities and international scientists will have to get used to a different — and more tightly regulated — way of undertaking research. The final version of the regulation is expected later this year.

Link to full news story in Nature

Reference: Nature 431, 615 (2004)