Recently, in Reviews of Modern Physics, I have read an erratum which represents an apology for a copied verbatim text. The text is:

"Large parts of Sec. VI.A, “Inverse magneto-optical excitation of magnetization dynamics: Theory,” consist of text and equations that are verbatim quotes, or very nearly so, of material in the paper by Gridnev (2008). Although this theory was developed in close collaboration with Dr. Gridnev and jointly published in Kalashnikova et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 167205 (2007) and Kalashnikova et al., Phys. Rev. B 78, 104301 (2008), we adopted the more compact and rigorous description given in Gridnev (2008) for this review. We regret that we did not identify these parts of our review as direct quotes, and we apologize to V. N. Gridnev and the readers of Reviews of Modern Physics for this oversight." from here.

Although there is a copied text, from what I see, there is not a retraction. The question is: why this paper was not retracted?

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    Evidently the authors didn't request retraction and the editors didn't feel it was necessary. We can only speculate as to how they reached that decision. I don't know what we can say beyond that, without being mind readers. – Nate Eldredge Sep 8 '16 at 13:17
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    Because probably the piece of text copied with respect to the whole text didn't warrant a retraction, and let's be happy about this: the fight against plagiarism should not become a blind witch-hunt where at the minimum case one requires retraction. – Massimo Ortolano Sep 8 '16 at 13:21
  • I'd speculate that this was a genuine 'oversight' as they say (of which they convinced their editors) and the rest of the content was fine. – Deleuze Sep 8 '16 at 13:24

In general, an editor will choose to issue a retraction when misbehavior or errors undermine the "core" of a paper (authors may request a retraction, but ultimately it is generally the editor who decides). An erratum or correction, on the other hand, is for when there is a problem that doesn't change the "core" of the paper.

Different editors will draw the boundary differently, and some things are in a grey area. In this case, it looks like reuse of background material (a grey area on self-plagiarism) shaded over into plagiarism from another closely related piece.

In most cases plagiarism, even of a background section, would be enough for a paper to be retracted due to the issue of dishonesty, which cases doubt on everything else in the paper. In this case, however, it appears that given the close relationships between the authors and the papers, the editor judged it less a matter of theft than of sloppiness, and opted for the lesser correction.

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    Speaking of retraction: initially, I voted to close the question, but this answer shows that it's possible to give quite good and general answers to apparently opinion-based question, and I've retracted my close-vote. – Massimo Ortolano Sep 8 '16 at 16:07

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