The reason given for removal of the paper was as follows:
“On looking again at your proposed paper, the Committee was not fully convinced that you met the copyright statement below which you completed on 6 April:
‘The authors warrant that the article contains no libelous or other unlawful statements and does not infringe the rights of others.’”
Chairs of the Scientific Committee,
Prof. C. Léger, Director, Polytech Orléans, France
Prof. K. Hawwash, SEFI President, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
What can be seen in this chain of correspondence is that no reason is given to justify the alleged violation of the certification, ‘The authors warrant that the article contains no libelous or other unlawful statements and does not infringe the rights of others.’” Furthermore, there was no attempt to request clarifications (e.g. “the Committee was not fully convinced”). A copy of the completed copyright statement can be seen here and has no other stipulations.
During an in-person visit to meet with the SEFI Board prior to the start of the conference, Mr. Coste reminded Prof. Léger that it was customary for conferences to allow the discussion of a wide range of issues and that conferences always provide a disclaimer (stated or implied – subject to the above mentioned warranty), “the materials and statements are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the conference management and their sponsors.” Furthermore, Mr. Coste continued by reminding Prof. Léger that, “By explicitly excluding this paper – which raises serious questions about the peer review process – SEFI is explicitly censoring this critical discussion and explicitly endorsing the flawed and unsupportable paper at the center of the case study.” Prof. Léger’s colleague stated that “In Europe, we have much greater liabilities regarding conference materials,” to which Prof. Léger did not refute. These unstated barriers to technical discussions, as exemplified by the actions of these committee chairs, provides an ominous cloud over the commitment of engineering education in Europe (as represented by SEFI) to academic freedom.