Elsevier Makes Good: Original Wakefield Takedown Now Free

Awhile back, I blogged about a particularly insidious glitch in the biomedical literature, in which a fraudulent study that caused enormous harm was available for free, while a contemporary – and strikingly prescient – commentary that eviscerated that study was locked behind a paywall. Now, thanks largely to the perserverance of TWiV co-host Rich Condit, this situation has been fixed.

Rich followed up on his original request, pulling strings with several contacts he’d made at Elsevier. He forwarded the conclusion of the saga this morning:

Dear Professor Condit

On behalf of Dr Astrid James, I can confirm that both the commentary and article in question are now free to access, subject to (free) registration on www.thelancet.com

Many thanks.
Richard Lane
Web Editor
The Lancet

Now, not only can the general public read the infamous and now retracted paper from Andrew Wakefield, which purported to show a link between MMR vaccination and autism, but also the brief, thorough debunking of that paper by Robert Chen and Frank DeStefano. Thank you Rich, and thanks to the folks at Elsevier who finally got the point.

The only remaining question is why, in light of Chen and DeStefano’s analysis, The Lancet even published Wakefield’s paper in the first place.