How to Change Author Name on a Previously Published Research Paper?

Changing Author Name in Research Paper

Introduction

Changing an author name on a published paper can be a complex process, but it’s an important step to ensure that the author’s identity is accurately reflected in their work. Some reasons why someone might need to change their author name include changes in legal name, changes in gender identity, changes due to marriage or simply a preference for a different name.

Regardless of the reason, having an accurate author name on published papers is crucial for ensuring proper attribution, recognition, and accountability.

For example, let’s say that a researcher named John Smith published a paper on genetic sequencing under his birth name. However, several years later, John undergoes gender reassignment surgery and changes his name to Jane. If Jane wishes to continue publishing research under her new name, it’s important that her previous publications are updated to reflect her new identity. This will help ensure that her work is accurately attributed to her and that she receives proper recognition for her contributions.

In another scenario, let’s say that a researcher named Sarah Johnson published a paper under her married name. However, several years later, she divorces and legally changes her name back to her maiden name. If Sarah wishes to continue publishing research under her maiden name, she will need to change her name on her previous publications to avoid any confusion or inconsistencies in her authorship record.

Changing author names on published papers can be a complex process, but it’s an important step to ensure that authors’ identities are accurately reflected in their work. In the following sections, we’ll explore some steps that authors can take to change their names on previously published papers.

Statistics on Change of Name Requests

According to a survey conducted by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) in 2020, out of the 103 responding journals, 67% reported having received requests to change author names on published papers, with the majority of requests being due to changes in name, affiliation, or spelling errors. Additionally, 57% of the responding journals had a policy or guidelines in place for changing author names on published papers.

These statistics suggest that name changes on published papers are a relatively common occurrence and that many journals have established procedures for handling such requests.

Reasons for Changing an Author Name on a Published Paper

There are several reasons why an author might need to change their name on a previously published paper. Some common reasons include:

  1. Changes in the legal name: An author may change their name due to marriage, divorce, or other legal reasons. For example, if an author named Emily Jones marries and changes her last name to Smith, she may wish to update her previously published papers to reflect her new legal name.
  2. Changes in gender identity: An author who undergoes gender reassignment surgery or identifies with a different gender may wish to change their name on previously published papers to reflect their new identity. For instance, if a researcher named David transitions to a female gender identity and changes her name to Sarah, she may wish to update her previously published papers to reflect her new name and gender identity.
  3. Preference for a different name: An author may simply prefer to use a different name than the one they used when their paper was published. This could be for personal or professional reasons, such as a desire to use a nickname or a pen name. For example, if an author named Jonathan prefers to be called Jon, he may wish to update his previously published papers to reflect his preferred name.

In each of these cases, changing an author’s name on a previously published paper can help to ensure that the author’s identity is accurately reflected in their work and that they receive proper recognition for their contributions. However, changing an author’s name can be complex and challenging and may require careful consideration of legal, technical, and ethical considerations.

Challenges in Changing an Author Name on a Published Paper

While changing an author name on a published paper can be important for accuracy and recognition, there are several challenges that authors may face in the process. Some common challenges include:

  1. Legal and contractual considerations: Changing an author’s name on a previously published paper may require navigating legal and contractual considerations with the journal or conference where the paper was published. For example, the author may need to obtain permission from the publisher to make changes to the publication or may need to sign a new agreement to reflect their updated name.
  2. Technical challenges: Updating an author’s name on a published paper can also present technical challenges, particularly in cases where the publication has already been distributed widely or is stored in multiple databases or archives. For example, updating the author name in one database may not automatically update it in another, leading to inconsistencies in the author’s record.
  3. Ethical considerations: Finally, changing an author’s name on a published paper may also present ethical considerations around accurately representing the author’s identity and avoiding misrepresentation or confusion. For example, an author who changes their name due to marriage may wish to use their new legal name on future publications but may need to consider how this change will affect their previous publications and their authorship record.

Overall, navigating these challenges requires careful consideration of the specific circumstances and requirements involved in updating an author name on a previously published paper. Authors may need to consult with legal counsel, the publisher or conference organizers, and/or technical experts to ensure that the process is handled correctly and that the author’s identity is accurately represented in their work.

Steps for Changing an Author Name on a Published Paper

  1. Review publication policies and guidelines: Before attempting to change an author name on a published paper, reviewing the publication policies and guidelines of the journal or conference where the paper was originally published is important. These policies may outline specific procedures or requirements for updating author information and may provide guidance on how to handle changes to an author name.
  2. Notify co-authors and journal/conference editors: Once the author has reviewed the publication policies and guidelines, they should notify their co-authors and the editors of the journal or conference where the paper was published of their intention to change their name. This will help ensure that everyone is aware of the change and can work together to update the publication record.
  3. Submit a correction or retraction request: Depending on the specific circumstances of the name change, the author may need to submit a correction or retraction request to the journal or conference where the paper was published. A correction request is typically used to make minor changes or updates to the publication record, such as correcting a misspelt name or affiliation. A retraction request is typically used in cases where the publication contains significant errors or inaccuracies that cannot be corrected through a simple correction request. The author should work closely with the editors of the journal or conference to determine which type of request is most appropriate for their situation.
  4. Update personal records and online profiles: Finally, once the author has successfully updated their name on their published paper, they should update their personal records and online profiles to reflect their new name. This may include updating their university or institutional records, their professional profiles on sites like LinkedIn or ResearchGate, and their ORCID record (if they have one). By updating these records, the author can ensure that their new name is accurately reflected across their professional record and that they receive proper recognition for their work.

Examples of Successful Author Name Changes in Published Papers

In recent years, there have been several cases of authors successfully changing their names on previously published papers. Here are a few examples:

  1. Dr. Benjamin Barres: Dr. Barres was a neurobiologist who underwent gender reassignment surgery and changed his name from Barbara to Benjamin. He successfully changed his name on previously published papers and continued to publish under his new name.
  2. Dr. Rachel McKinnon: Dr. McKinnon is a philosopher and transgender activist who changed her name after undergoing gender transition. She successfully changed her name on previously published papers and continues to publish under her new name.
  3. Dr. Julia Serano: Dr. Serano is a writer, biologist, and transgender activist who changed her name after undergoing gender transition. She successfully changed her name on previously published papers and continues to publish under her new name.

These examples demonstrate that it is possible to change an author’s name on previously published papers, even in cases where the name change is related to gender identity. By following the steps outlined in point IV, authors can work with their co-authors and journal or conference editors to ensure that their new name is accurately reflected in their published work.

How to Handle Resistance in Changing the Author Name

If an author encounters resistance or obstacles in changing their name on a published paper, there are a few steps they can take:

  1. Review publication policies and guidelines: First, the author should review the publication policies and guidelines of the journal or conference where the paper was published. This can help them understand the process for making corrections or retractions, and can also provide guidance on how to handle disputes or disagreements related to authorship.
  2. Reach out to co-authors: The author should also reach out to their co-authors and discuss the situation with them. It’s possible that the co-authors can help advocate for the name change and provide additional support for the author.
  3. Contact the journal or conference: If the author is still encountering resistance, they can contact the journal or conference directly and explain their situation. They should provide any necessary legal documentation, such as a court order or marriage certificate, to support their request. If necessary, the author can also escalate the issue to the publication’s higher-ups or editorial board.
  4. Seek legal assistance: In rare cases, an author may need to seek legal assistance to ensure that their name is accurately reflected on their published papers. This can be particularly important if there are contractual or copyright issues at play. An attorney can help the author understand their rights and provide guidance on how to proceed.

How does Changing the Name of the Author on the Research Paper affect ORCID?

Changing an author name can have an impact on the ORCID iD of the author. ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a unique identifier assigned to each researcher, which is intended to provide a persistent link between the researcher and their scholarly output.

If an author changes their name, it is important that they update their ORCID record to reflect their new name. This will help ensure that their scholarly output is accurately attributed to them and that their research is properly recognized and indexed.

To change their name on their ORCID record, the author can log into their ORCID account and edit their personal information. They should update their name in the “Names” section and provide any relevant information, such as a previous name or a name change due to marriage or gender reassignment.

It is worth noting that ORCID recommends that authors maintain a consistent name throughout their academic career, to avoid confusion and ensure that their scholarly output is properly attributed to them. If an author has already created an ORCID iD under a previous name, they can link their new name to their existing ORCID iD by adding it as an alternative name in their ORCID record.

Overall, changing an author’s name can impact their ORCID iD, but it is important for authors to keep their ORCID record up-to-date to ensure that their scholarly output is properly attributed to them. I have written an article on how important it is for the researcher to have an ORCID id. Please refer to the post Why ORCID is Important for Research Scholars and Academicians? for further details.

How does Changing the Name of the Author affect the DOI?

Changing the name of an author on a published paper may not have a direct impact on the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) assigned to the paper. The DOI is a unique identifier that is used to locate and access the paper online and is typically assigned at the time of publication.

However, changing the author name may impact how the paper is cited or referenced in other publications. If the author’s name is changed on the paper, it is important to update the citation information to reflect the new name. This will help ensure that the paper is properly attributed to the correct author and that the citation information is accurate and up-to-date.

It is also important to note that if an author changes their name, they may need to update their personal information associated with their DOI account, including their name and contact information. This will help ensure that their DOI account information is accurate and up-to-date and that they can be properly identified as the author of their work.

In summary, while changing the name of an author on a published paper may not directly impact the DOI assigned to the paper, it is important to update citation information and the personal information associated with the paper to reflect the new name. I have written article on Why Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is Important for Researchers?. Please refer the article for further details.

E-mail Template for Changing Author Name

Here’s a template for requesting a change of name on an already-published paper:

Subject: Request to Change Name on Published Paper

Dear [Editor’s Name],

I am writing to request a change of name on the paper [Title of the Paper] that was published in [Journal/Conference Name], [Volume Number], [Issue Number], [Year of Publication]. I am the lead author of the paper, and my name was published as [Current Name] at the time of publication.

Since the time of publication, I have legally changed my name to [New Name]. I am writing to request that my new name be reflected on the published paper to accurately reflect my current identity and prevent any confusion with my future publications.

I have reviewed the publication policies and guidelines of [Journal/Conference Name], and I understand that the process of changing an author name on a published paper can be complex. I am committed to working with you and the co-authors to ensure that the process is completed accurately and efficiently.

I have attached a copy of the legal document showing the change of name to this email. Please let me know if there are any additional steps I need to take to request this change. I appreciate your attention to this matter and thank you in advance for your assistance.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Conclusion

Having accurate author information on published papers is crucial for ensuring proper attribution, recognition, and accountability. As outlined in this article, changing an author name on a published paper can be a complex process, but it is an important step to ensure that authors’ identities are accurately reflected in their work.

To recap, the steps for changing an author name on a published paper include: reviewing publication policies and guidelines, notifying co-authors and journal or conference editors, submitting a correction or retraction request, and updating personal records and online profiles.

Authors who wish to change their name on published papers should also consider the legal and contractual considerations, technical challenges, and ethical considerations involved. They should work with their co-authors and journal or conference editors to ensure a smooth and accurate transition to their new name.

In the end, it is important for authors to feel comfortable and empowered in their professional identities. Changing an author name on a published paper can be a positive step toward that goal, and with careful planning and communication, it is possible to ensure that the author’s new name is accurately reflected in their published work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if an author changes their name multiple times? How should they handle previous publications under previous names?

If an author changes their name multiple times, they should ensure that all previous publications are updated to reflect their current name. This may require multiple correction or retraction requests to various journals or conferences

Are there any negative consequences to changing an author name on a published paper, such as loss of recognition or citations?

A: There may be potential negative consequences, such as confusion in authorship records or loss of citations if the updated name is not properly linked to previous publications. However, these can be mitigated by following proper procedures for name changes and ensuring that all records are updated.

What if an author wants to change their name on a paper but some of the co-authors are no longer reachable?

A: Authors should make reasonable efforts to contact all co-authors and inform them of the name change. If some co-authors cannot be reached, authors may need to submit a correction or retraction request without their consent.

What should an author do if they encounter resistance or obstacles in changing their name on a published paper?

If an author encounters resistance or obstacles in changing their name on a published paper, they may need to seek additional support. This may involve contacting the journal or conference organizers directly to explain the situation and request assistance. Alternatively, they may need to seek legal advice to ensure that their rights are being protected.

Are there any costs associated with changing an author name on a published paper?

There may be costs associated with changing an author name on a published paper, such as reprint fees or administrative charges. However, this can vary depending on the policies of the journal or conference.

Authors can prevent the need to change their name on published papers by ensuring that all future publications are submitted under their current legal name. They may also consider using author identifier systems, such as ORCID, to link their publications to a unique identifier that is not affected by name changes.

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Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Vijay Rajpurohit
Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]