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    You have previously answered a question about what constitutes a "public release" in the context of a FOIA case. (https://dap.dau.mil/aap/pages/qdetails.aspx?cgiSubjectAreaID=4&cgiQuestionID=16181). My question is on submitting academic papers to journals and conferences. Sometimes articles do not make it through a prepublication review process in time to make a deadline. Peer-review processes are confidential, and submitted articles can always be revised before publication. However, the peer-review process itself may expose the submitted information to non-government individuals or foreign nationals. If there is no issue regarding classified data, does submitting an article to a non-government conference or journal constitute a public release? Does DoD have different standards from the rest of the Government?


    Answer

    You have asked about two situations regarding public release:  one for the peer review process and another for submitting the information to a non-government conference or journal.  Generally the peer review process would not be considered public release since the number and nature of the reviewers can and should be controlled and appropriate policies and safeguards should be established for disclosure of the information. 

    In the second case, submitting the information to a non-government conference or journal would seem to constitute public release.  However, in either case we recommend that you follow the policies in DoD Directive 5230.09, August 22, 2008, Certified Current Through August 22, 2015, and consult your local Public Affairs Office for guidance regarding the specifics of your situation. 

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