Applied Mathematics Letters posts apology for retracting Intelligent Design-friendly paper
Applied Mathematics Letters, which agreed to apologize to Intelligent Design-friendly Texas professor Granville Sewell and have its publisher, Elsevier, pay $10,000 in legal fees, has posted the text of its apology (Of note: Elsevier has the apology behind a paywall. So if 318 people fork over the $31.50 fee, they’ll have their $10,000 back.):
An article, ‘‘A Second Look at the Second Law,’’ by Dr. Granville Sewell, Professor of Mathematics at University of Texas at El Paso, was submitted on October 21, 2010 to the Journal of Applied Mathematics Letters. Dr. Sewell’s article was peer-reviewed and accepted for publication on January 19, 2011.
On March 2, 2011, the Editor-in-Chief of Applied Mathematics Letters, Dr. Ervin Rodin, decided to withdraw the article without consultation with the author, not because of any errors or technical problems found by the reviewers or editors, but because the Editor-in-Chief subsequently concluded that the content was more philosophical than mathematical and, as such, not appropriate for a technical mathematics journal such as Applied Mathematics Letters.
The Journal of Applied Mathematics Letters and its Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Rodin, provide their sincere and heartfelt apologies to Dr. Sewell for any inconvenience or embarrassment that may have been caused by their unilateral withdrawal of his article, and wish Dr. Sewell the best in the future and welcome Dr. Sewell’s submission of future articles for possible publication.
Dr. Sewell’s article as accepted by Applied Mathematics Letters can be viewed at: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/sewell/AML_3497.pdf.
This editor’s note adds a remarkable twist to an already remarkable story. The text of the apology — no doubt heavily lawyered by both sides — allows the journal to duck questions about a) how Rodin failed to notice that the paper was “more philosophical than mathematical” when it was first submitted, and b) how its peer-review process failed to note the issues others have raised.