Earlier this year, Routledge published a book entitled “Sexual Misconduct in Academia”. One of the chapters, entitled “The walls spoke when no one else would”, contained serious allegations of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, at an institution. The chapter had been anonymised by the authors so that neither those accused or involved, nor the institution itself, were identifiable.

After publication, and unbeknownst to Routledge, the academic institution, one of the accused, and others, made statements leading to the identification of some of those involved in various news articles and on social media.

Routledge then received a series of legal threats from various parties, including from a leading UK law firm acting for one of the accused, and was put in the difficult position of defending specific allegations against named, but previously unidentified, individuals.

After discussions failed to find a way forward, Routledge made the difficult decision to withdraw the chapter from publication and return the rights in the chapter to the authors.

We communicated with the editors during this process and informed them of the decision during a video call on 16 August 2023, prior to returning the rights to the authors. We intend to reconvene with the editors at an appropriate time to explore options for the rest of the book. The title remains unavailable pending the conclusion of this process and the full resolution of legal claims.

Update: 21 June 2024

In September 2023, we wrote to the editors with a proposal to work collaboratively together to make the remainder of Sexual Misconduct in Academia, without the original Chapter 12, available again as a Routledge title. Regrettably, we could not reach agreement with the editors on this proposal. The only remaining option was, therefore, to revert all the rights in the book to the editors and the contributors, giving them full freedom to explore options for publication elsewhere, including placing the book with another publisher. We communicated this to the editors in early June 2024.