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Communications of the ACM

ACM Careers

Partnership Will Help Trans Researchers Update Names on Past Work

name change illustration

Credit: Jenny Nuss / Berkeley Lab

All 17 U.S. national laboratories and many prominent scientific publishers have formed a partnership to support name change requests from researchers on past published papers.

The agreement specifically addresses the difficulties some transgender researchers have experienced when requesting name changes associated with past academic work.

Previously, individual researchers initiated name change requests with each publisher of their past papers. The partnership streamlines these previously ad hoc processes and offers an official validation mechanism to all involved by enabling researchers to ask their respective institutions to pursue name changes on their behalf directly with the publishers and journals.  Many publishers have been independently updating their policies to address an increasing number of name change requests.

"As a trans scientist, having publications under my birth name causes me to have mixed feelings about past work of which I'm otherwise proud," says Amalie Trewartha, research scientist at Toyota Research Institute. "I am faced with the dilemma of either hiding certain parts of it, or outing myself. Having my name updated on my previous publications would be enormously meaningful. It would allow me to make a first impression on my peers primarily through my merits as a scientist and it would allow me to unreservedly embrace and be proud of research from all stages of my career."

Giving researchers the ability to claim the volume of their work over time has significant implications for maintaining prominence in their area of research and for receiving credit for their academic impact.

From Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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