‘A satisfactory explanation was not provided’: Physicists in India lose third paper

KL University in Guntur

A team of physicists in India has notched their third retraction for problematic images and other issues that also have prompted at least four corrections of their work. 

The authors, Sk. Shahenoor Basha, of the Solid State Ionics Laboratory at KL University in Guntur, and M.C. Rao, of Andhra Loyola College in Vijayawada, have lost a 2018 article in the International Journal of Polymer Science titled ““Spectroscopic and electrochemical properties of [PVA/PVP]:[MgCl2{6H2O}] blend polymer electrolyte films.” 

According to the retraction notice

The journal initially received a request from the authors to correct Figures 1 and 2. During our assessment of the revised figures, it was identified that Figure 2 was a manipulated version of the original Figure. A further revised figure was also a duplicate of another previously published figure. 

The notice goes on to state that: 

The authors responded to our concerns, however a satisfactory explanation was not provided.

We also asked the authors institutions to formally investigate. KL University responded to confirm the duplications but informed us that the accurate versions were published in [1], with the errors existing in the other publications; [2–4]. The corrections to these articles have since been published at [5–7], however, this article is being retracted due to concerns with the data. The authors do not agree to the retraction.

The notice provides the list of references: 

S. K. S. Basha and M. C. Rao, “Spectroscopic and Electrochemical Properties of [PVA/PVP] :  [MgCl2{6H2O}] Blend Polymer Electrolyte Films,” International Journal of Polymer Science, vol. 2018, Article ID 2926167, 11 pages, 2018. 

S. K. S. Basha and M. C. Rao, “Spectroscopic and discharge studies on graphene oxide doped PVA/PVP blend nanocomposite polymer films,” Polymer Science, Series A, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 359–372, 2018. 

S. K. S. Basha and M. C. Rao, “Spectroscopic and electrochemical properties of PVP based polymer electrolyte films,” Polymer Bulletin, vol. 75, no. 8, pp. 3641–3666, 2018. 

S. K. S. Basha, G. S. Sundari, K. V. Kumar, and M. C. Rao, “Preparation and dielectric properties of PVP-based polymer electrolyte films for solid-state battery application,” Polymer Bulletin, vol. 75, no. 3, pp. 925–945, 2018. 

S. K. S. Basha and M. C. Rao, “Correction to: Spectroscopic and electrochemical properties of PVP based polymer electrolyte films,” Polymer Bulletin, pp. 1-2, 2019. 

S. K. S. Basha, G. S. Sundari, K. V. Kumar, and M. C. Rao, “Correction to: Preparation and dielectric properties of PVP-based polymer electrolyte films for solid-state battery application,” Polymer Bulletin, p. 1, 2019. 

S. K. S. Basha and M. C. Rao, “Erratum to: Spectroscopic and Discharge Studies on Graphene Oxide Doped PVA/PVP Blend Nanocomposite Polymer Films,” Polymer Science, Series A, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 226–229, 2019. 

That list doesn’t include a now-retracted 2018 paper in Ceramics International, titled “Effect of annealing temperature on structural and morphological studies of electrodeposited CZTS thin films.” The notice for that article states:

The main author of the above referenced paper, Shahenoor Basha, declares that the data in the article is invalid due to a malfunction in the instrumental setup. As a result, the results published within this paper are not reproducible. Secondly, the data was published without the consent of a co-worker who helped in carrying out the experiment. This was not known to the Corresponding author at the time of submission.

The authors would like to extend their apologies to any readers that this may have inconvenienced or offended.

Nor does it include Basha and Rao’s retraction from  Results in Physics of “Structural and electrical properties of CZTS thin films by electrodeposition,” also published in 2018. That notice states

This article has been retracted upon request of the authors because:

1. This article was published without checking the reproducibility and novelty of the results.

2. The data in the article is invalid due to malfunctioning of the experimental set up.

3. Data was published without the knowledge or consent from a co-worker who helped in carrying out the experiment.

Basha responded to our questions about the retractions, but asked that we not publish his comments. Rao told us by email that: 

for these three papers I am not responsible, the other author namely Sk. Shahenoor Basha is responsible.  Because of him this was happened. Even I have communicated the same to the Journal people. I have been the corresponding author of the papers so everybody is asking and responding to me. …

My sincere request is when you are posting the information, please reflect once and  understand firmly that I am not responsible for this and see that my involvement is not there in posting the draft of the information. Also please see that there wont be any negative comments. Kindly look into this generously. Please understand humanitarianly.

Basha and Rao’s papers don’t show up on PubPeer, but we did find one entry there for a 2014 article by Rao that raised eyebrows.

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One thought on “‘A satisfactory explanation was not provided’: Physicists in India lose third paper”

  1. “For these three papers I am not responsible […] I have been the corresponding author of the papers so everybody is asking and responding to me. …”

    So, what is the purpose of a corresponding author?

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