Reporting errors sink chem paper on liquid-liquid equilibrium

Jced_coverA team of chemists at Hunan University and Zhejiang Shuyang Chemical Company in China have retracted a paper from the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data after “inconsistencies with the literature” led them to discover “errors” in the way the data were reported.

According to the corresponding author Qinbo Wang, in December 2014, Robert Chirico, an associate editor at the journal, contacted Wang with concerns that the paper’s data were an anomaly.

Wang then went through the original notes with the first author, and realized that the data reported in the paper didn’t match the experimental results. The lab then conducted further experiments, and discovered that multiple corrections would be necessary. They were, as Wang told us:

(1) The mass fraction of water in acetophenone and 1-phenylethanol in water tabulated in Tables 2 and 3 in the published paper should be correct.
(2) As a consequence, Table 4, Table 5, Table 7 and Table 8 should be modified.
(3) As a consequence, the TOC figure, Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figures 4 to 7 should be slightly modified.
(4) As a consequence, some corresponding sentences in the text should be modified.

…[Journal editor] Dr Brennecke decided to retract the paper, and I accepted the suggestion.

Here’s the notice for “Liquid–Liquid Equilibrium for the Ternary System Water + Ethylbenzene + Acetophenone and Water + Ethylbenzene +1-Phenylethanol”:

This article was retracted by the authors after inconsistencies with the literature were discovered in the solubility of water in acetophenone, which led to the detection of errors in the reported binary and ternary experimental data, as well as the total data correlation results.

Editor in chief Joan Brennecke declined to give additional details; we’ve contacted Chirico, and will update if we hear back.

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