I am a first year PhD student and I was recently working on reproducing some results from a paper which is still being reviewed. In the process I noted a number of issues with the paper which should be clarified or fixed. I have been asked how I would like my name to appear in the acknowledgements. My full legal name is Kristian Tyn-Kai Chung, but I do not ever use the name Kristian, I have always gone by Kai to everyone I know besides by mother and grandmother who call me Kristian (with a Norwegian pronounciation). Should I use my full name? First and last? Should I use Kai? Any suggestions appreciated.


1 Answer 1


If you have already published papers, then use the same name as on your papers.

If you haven't, then now is a good time to decide what you want your "professional name" to be. There's no particular need for it to match your legal name. You might just think about what you want people to call you in academic or professional situations. (And if it's a common name, you may want to choose a more unique variant; e.g. including a middle name or initial.)

But if possible, choose something that you think you'll be comfortable using for the rest of your career. It's awkward to change your professional name, because you can't go back and change your name on papers you've already published, and people will have a hard time connecting the work you've done under the two names.

(This matters less for an acknowledgment, though, since it's not really that important for people to know that it's the same person as on your later papers. So you don't actually have to worry about it too much right now. But it's a decision you'll have to make eventually; might as well do it now if you're ready.)

  • 5
    And since it’s just an acknowledgement, it’s not really binding anyway.
    – aeismail
    Apr 7, 2018 at 20:13
  • 9
    I've seen others who go by their middle name publish under the form "F. Middle Last". You could choose to publish as K. Kai Chung, or K. T.-Kai Chung or some other variant. It shouldn't be confusing to readers if you change your publishing name now, as long as the change from your first paper is relatively small and you last name is unchanged. Apr 7, 2018 at 21:35
  • 5
    @Kai: No, you're not stuck with that name. One minor paper as an undergraduate does not lock you into a name for your career—particularly if it's not in an area you're going to pursue later on. But once you start to publish regularly, you'll want to decide on something and stick with it.
    – aeismail
    Apr 8, 2018 at 1:24
  • 3
    Let me reinforce the comments to the effect that you're not stuck with the form of your name that you used on one paper. A few of my earliest papers have my name in the form "A. R. Blass", because they were joint papers with a teacher who always used the analogous form for his name. But apart from those few papers, I've used "Andreas Blass" on my publications. Apr 8, 2018 at 1:46
  • 6
    choose a name, and register an ORCID for it... orcid.org
    – Rmano
    Apr 8, 2018 at 12:23

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