Remember the $32 opaque retraction notice? Molecular Biology and Evolution removes paywall

On Tuesday, we reported on the case of a retraction notice in Molecular Biology and Evolution, an Oxford University Press (OUP) journal, that had three problems:

  • it provided no information, saying simply that “This article has been permanently retracted from publication by the authors.”
  • the last 8 words of the 11-word notice were behind a $32 paywall
  • the paper itself had been removed from the journal’s site entirely, instead of simply being marked as retracted.

At the time, we noted that we had tried to reach OUP to find out why the retraction had been handled this way. Today, we heard back from Cathy Kennedy, the OUP publisher responsible for the journal. She tells Retraction Watch that one of the issues — the paywall — has already been fixed, and that the other two are being worked on:

Unfortunately, our internal process for handling a retraction request was not followed in this case and this paper was retracted without a full review of the circumstances by OUP. We are working with the editor of the journal to fully understand the circumstances of the requested retraction and to reinstate the paper with an updated retraction notice or to simply reinstate the paper, should that be appropriate.‬‪We will let you know the outcome once our investigation is complete. We have also removed the paywall from the retraction notice which should not have been in place.‬‪

We look forward to hearing the outcome of the investigation, of course, and appreciate OUP’s transparency in explaining what happened. We’re also glad to hear that this is not standard operating procedure — SOP — at OUP.

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