The paper, published in the Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, explored how the properties of nanofluids—fluids that contain nanoparticles—change as the fluid moves through different materials.
According to the editor-in-chief, Greg Naterer, an outside expert—Asterios Pantokratoras, based at Democritus University of Thrace in Greece—contacted the journal in May 2017 after discovering “errors with symbols in equations and figures.” The journal investigated the concerns and reached out to the paper’s corresponding author V. Ramachandra Prasad at Madanapalle Institute of Technology and Science in India for a response; after several rounds of comments from Pantokratoras and Prasad, the journal concluded that the paper should be retracted.
As a result, and after reviewing the analysis by Prof. Pantokratoras, it was believed that the results were questionable and could not be relied upon…
Based on a detailed investigation of this article [http://dx.doi.org/10.2514/1.T4396], it is believed that the results in the paper are potentially seriously flawed. Therefore, the results and conclusions should not be relied upon. This retraction has been initiated by the publisher.
In addition to numerous typographical errors that were found throughout the article, several missing terms and variables were identified following publication. Typographical errors were repeated many times in figures. Although the research methodology followed a standard procedure, from the perspective of someone reading the paper, the reader would not know there are many symbol errors, typographical errors, and incorrect symbols in the article, leading to misinterpretation of the results. It was believed that an erratum would not adequately clarify and correct the significant number of unresolved issues and errors.
Professor Asterios Pantokratoras from the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece is gratefully acknowledged for his detailed analysis and comments on this article.
The paper has been cited six times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science (four times by the authors).
The paper focused on nanofluids, which can transfer heat or energy more effectively than other liquids and have potential applications as coolants. The authors claimed they had developed a model with “applications in energy systems.”
However, Pantokratoras told us that given the errors, he believes “the results are essentially meaningless.”
In the analysis he sent to the journal, Pantokratoras identified two parameters that the authors used in many figures but failed to define in the paper. According to Pantokratoras, when he asked the authors about these parameters, the authors told him they are “typographical errors.” In his letter to the journal, Pantokratoras wrote:
It is the first time in my career that I see a typo repeated 11 times and another typo repeated 11 times…
We asked the journal how the mistakes got past the editor and reviewers. Naterer told us:
The article was originally accepted in 2014 after a thorough review process by experts in the field and then published in Jan. 2015.
We also asked Prasad if he agreed with the assessment in the retraction notice and if he could explain the typographical errors and how they arose. In response, Prasad sent us a page of mathematical proofs and told us:
We are going to give more replies. Please give us some time.
Hat tip: Rolf Degen
Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our daily digest. Click here to review our Comments Policy. For a sneak peek at what we’re working on, click here.