I am about to submit a paper in which I present a new algorithm. There are many algorithms that are named after the author in my field, but I am not sure whether the authors themselves named those after themselves, or whether others named those algorithms after the authors post-pbulication (so in other papers). Is it appropriate to name the algorithm after myself?

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    Also, you can call anything everything, but what matter is whether the world adopts your naming suggestion. See Stigler's law of eponymy: "No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer." Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 9:30
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    Most algorithms I can think of that are named after someone were named after them by others by convenience, not by the original author. You publish it, refer to it as equation (3) in a paper where the first author is A. Make. People start referring to "equation (3) in Make 2018" and later as the rest of the paper fades into obscurity "Make 2018's approach" and finally "Make's algorithm" etc etc
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 15:58
  • @BryanKrause: That was helpful, thanks! However, I do need a name within the same paper, because I need to refer to it in graphics in the experiments section. Since it is not an equation, but described by a whole section and I don't have space in a small legend for something lengthy as "the new algorithm described in section 4.3", I need a name.
    – Make42
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 17:13
  • @Make42 I'm assuming you are in CS or something similar? I'm more familiar with other literature, so I don't know the norms there. But to give an example off the top of my head, Victor and Purpura 1996 refer to "the 'spike count' metric D(Count)" rather than an equation #: now it's common to see papers refer to "Victor-Purpura distance." I would suggest giving your algorithm either a number/letter designation or simply be descriptive, perhaps even limiting the name to what distinguishes it from an algorithm you are contrasting to: call one the "counting method" and one the "sorting method."
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Its not illegal, but not in good taste either. Not talking specifically about algorithms, but even equations, constants, methods - these are usually named by others, post-publication. Having said that, I know of atleast one instance where the authors named something after themselves, but I don't see subsequent work using that name. Can be an embarassment if that happens.

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