Name Changes for Those Who are Published

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Feb. 18, 2022, 2:31 p.m.
Up until recently changing the author’s name on a previously published piece was extremely challenging
Rainbow flag on left with logos of JSTOR, PLOS, Elsevier, Royal Society of Chemistry and ACS Publications

by Anne Rauh, Head of Collections and Research Services

For years, researchers and authors have been advocating that publishers create a more inclusive environment that enables them to change their names on formerly published material. Reasons why a published researcher or author may want to change their name are varied and may include a change in gender identity, marital status, or religion, to name a few. Regardless of the reason, up until recently changing the author’s name on a previously published piece was extremely challenging. Most publications did not have a policy or process in place to change, so they were unable to accommodate requests. However, given the recent focus on equity and inclusion, over the past year many scientific publishers have now established policies to make it easier for authors to change their first or last name on published papers. Furthermore, these policies permit authors to change their names without public notification, allowing authors more privacy over personal circumstances. Still, it can be a massive undertaking to change one’s name, particularly if broadly published. So although it’s a step in the right direction, there continues to be an industry push to see publishers move toward a broader change, such as using an ORCID identifier as the primary means of researcher or author identification instead of a name.

For researchers and authors at Syracuse University looking for support on name changes, Subject Librarians can provide confidential guidance.

Some of the publications that are now making the name change option available include:

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