I have a two-word last name which gives as full name something like "Mike Adam Pince" (just an example) with "Mike" the first name and "Adam Pince" the last name (no middle name).

I have published few conference papers and I noted that Google scholar is referencing me (author's name in the results) as "MA Pince" which I'm sure other people would do too.

Now that I'm writing a journal paper I'm thinking of adding a hyphen to my last name "Adam-Pince" to avoid any confusion with others authors.

I wonder what's the common practice in such a situation.

  • Are you looking for advice about changing your name, or are you asking what the proper way to cite a paper you write is? Feb 23, 2018 at 2:20
  • @StellaBiderman advice for whether I should change my name (add a hyphen) or not or do something else, so that other people can cite me correctly even though my real last name does not have a hyphen. Feb 23, 2018 at 2:31
  • I had the exact same problem (my last name is "Idrissi Kaïtouni", two words). In the end I decided to just use "Idrissi" as my last name in academic settings. Not 100% happy about it, but it's so much easier (even if people/computers still make mistakes...).
    – user9646
    Feb 23, 2018 at 9:25
  • A relatively common practice is to put last names in (sm)all caps. Thus you have "Mike ADAM PINCE". (This is particularly common when dealing with a combination of Eastern and Western names, for example KIM Jong-Il tells us the surname is Kim not Jong-Il, or Spanish/Portuguese names, for example, Gabriel GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ tells us only Gabriel is the given name. I don't know of Google Scholar is smart enough to do this. I normally double check to be sure, but I'm in a field where this issue is common enough that generally no one assumes. Feb 23, 2018 at 14:43
  • @NajibIdrissi This makes me more willing to put the hyphen then :) Feb 23, 2018 at 21:11

2 Answers 2


Make it easy for people to cite you correctly.

People are lazy. When I cite a paper, I usually copy-paste the citation from some website. This can be the publisher's website, the author's website, or some index like Google Scholar or DBLP (for computer science). I suspect most people do this too. So you should make sure the correct citation appears in these places.

Make sure that the publisher of your papers has the correct citation on their website. Put the correct citation on your website (e.g. create an "export citation" link). Create a google scholar profile and make sure it has the correct information. In some places it may be appropriate to even include the suggested citation in your paper itself. These actions won't ensure 100% correct citation of your name, but they will make a difference.

Another note: You get to choose what name to put on your paper. It doesn't have to be your legal name. (For instance, someone who changes their legal name upon marriage may choose to keep publishing under their maiden name.) So you do have the option to choosing a professional name that avoids these issue -- e.g., by hyphenating. Just be consistent.

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    Thanks for the advice, I checked and even the publisher of most my papers got it wrong! Guess the best way is to add a hyphen since checking every time for that and everywhere would be very difficult. Feb 23, 2018 at 7:13
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    I had the same issue. I added a hyphen between them and that solved the issue. Search engines works way better by doing so. Apr 11, 2018 at 19:43

You should write your name the way you want to have it appear in print: it's your name!

However, that said, it is true that automated algorithms are not always alert to the sensitivities of naming conventions. You could certainly choose to have an academic "name of record" that is different from your legal name. So you could be "M. Adam Pince" legally but go by "M. Adam-Pince" in academic publications and citations.

The only rule to follow is to stick with a single name once you've picked it.

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    not only automated algorithms. I bet that most people would think my last name is "Pince" and cite my papers as "Pince et al." for eg Feb 23, 2018 at 2:33
  • About sticking with the name I picked, I already wrote few papers with my legal name (no hyphen) I wonder if it's best to change it or keep it as is at that point. Feb 23, 2018 at 2:36
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    @MedNait: If you only have a few papers published, you could change it now, and ask the citation indices to make adjustments to the existing papers. But don't make the change after you've published a lot.
    – aeismail
    Feb 23, 2018 at 2:41
  • OK. Just out of curiosity, how would you cite a paper with a first author's name like mine? Feb 23, 2018 at 2:43
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    It should just be “M Adam Pince” or “Adam Pince, M.” without the hyphen, depending on the house style sheet.
    – aeismail
    Feb 23, 2018 at 4:11

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