This paper is devoted to the heat and mass transfer characteristics of the magnetohydrodynamic nanofluids flow over a permeable stretching/shrinking surface. The hydrodynamic as well as thermal slip conditions are accounted for. The novelty is that derivation of exact analytical solutions are aimed for different water-based nanofluids containing Cu, Ag, CuO, Al2O3, and TiO2. Results of the present analysis in the absence of hydrodynamic and thermal slip for the stretching sheet are in excellent agreement with those available in the literature. The velocity and temperature profiles, skin friction coefficient and Nusselt number are easily examined and discussed via the closed forms obtained. A rescaling of the governing equations is also proposed, which enables one to interpret the physical coefficients in terms of the published data. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.