My full name on passport is Amir Hisham Ahmed Al-Attraqchi (first three names + surname). In my publication, I only used the first and the surname (i.e. Amir Al-Attraqchi). Is it going to be a problem proving the publications to be mine?

I'm worried about proving this when applying for new universities, promotions or fellowships

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    As an anecdotical evidence, one of the greatest math masterminds of our days, Grigori Perelman, published his seminal works at arXiv, with "Grisha" as a first name. It is a typical Russian diminutive of his name, but formally, it's not the way it stands in passport. Actually, more or less all Russians also have a patronymic in their passports. From my feelings, in largest portion of authors it is typically abbreviated as a middle initial, if shown at all. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 18:00
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    The only time I can imagine it mattering whether your author name matches your passport name is if you have to provide a publication list as evidence towards a visa somehow. Even then, I don't know if it'd be a problem.
    – Flyto
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:52
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    Who are you worried about proving this to? Academics? Government officials?
    – Kimball
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 0:42
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    Related: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/78507/… . Get an ORC-ID account, and then put whatever names you want anywhere. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 7:55
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    Kimball...I'm worried about proving this when applying for new universities, promotions or fellowships. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 9:53

5 Answers 5


Arguably, you did the right thing.

In my experience, too many names tend to confuse people. I have 2+2 and I saw my name being cited in lots of different ways, without any consistency.

One thing that really helps to prove that you are the same person is to set up an ORCID and use it in the publications.

  • Thank you for your answer. But is it possible to cause a problem when applying for new universities, promotions or fellowships...especially I'm still relatively new to the field? Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 15:03
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    @OmarAl-Attraqchi Very unlikely. Remember that there are people behind those processes. People used to this thing. You are not the first one to have those problems, far from it (think of every name change of a researcher since ever). You are overthinking it... Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 18:31

None of the names listed in my publications are identical to the one in my passport or birth certificate. In fact, I have one or two diplomas where this is also the case.

When I applied for an honourary post in a university in China, they questioned this exact discrepancy and required me to show that my diplomas and publications were mine. (I've found out that the idea of a name is different there than in my home country.) I managed to convince them by presenting a statutory declaration (or affidavit, for those outside the Commonwealth) to that effect.

This might work in your case.

Good luck.

Note: Edited to explain what a statutory declaration is. Thanks for the link, @Nij.

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    Statutory declaration isn't exactly a rare concept.
    – Nij
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:29
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    @Nij Rare enough that I, a well-informed person who’s lived all his 40-year life in a country where they exist first heard of them today and that six other people thought my comment was worth upvoting. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 7:02
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    Good to add alternative names but "for those outside the Commonwealth" seems to assume that EU countries use such term or concept, while AFAIK it's mostly USA-specific.
    – Nemo
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 7:25
  • @Nemo I think it is out of scope to translate the concept for non-English speaking countries.
    – Qsigma
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 8:45
  • "I've found out that the idea of a name is different there than in my home country." - I think this anwer could be improved by being a bit more specific about that. Was it about format? About changeability? About context-based variants? Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 10:44

It shouldn't be a problem at all. It's very easy to believe that Omar Husham Ahmed Al-Attraqchi and Omar Al-Attraqchi are the same person because it's very common to abbreviate names in that way. I and most of my British co-authors have three names; we only use the first and last of them on our papers.

People's legal name and publication name often differ much more substantially than yours. For example, in many western cultures, women often change their name when they get married. Female academics often continue to publish under their birth name so all their papers appear with the same name. I don't think they have to spend any time convincing people they wrote their papers.

  • Thank you for answering.Does it mean your publication name does not contain all names on your passport? I'm concerned about this when applying for new universities, promotions or fellowships. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 15:08
  • Yes. I have a middle name that's on my passport but not on my papers. This really isn't an issue. My papers say "David Richerby", my passport says "David Malcolm Richerby". Nobody questions this: it's completely normal. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 15:58
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    Thank you very much. I was really worried about this, now I'm much more relieved. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 16:47

That is very unlikely unless the name you choose to use for publication is very common in the field that you work in. In the US, a person named "John Smith" might need to distinguish himself in a field with a lot of practitioners. Otherwise, I see no problem.

Another consideration is how formal you want to be. If you are a young academic building a reputation, it might be advantage to err on the side of formality rather than the opposite. As you grow into the profession and meet lots of people, etc., you can move to a less formal name if you would then want to. Some academics I know insist on being represented in print very formally so as to build a "brand". In person they are not formal at all.

However, since names like el Masri, indicate places, Timmy el Masri might not be very distinguishing (assuming lots of Egyptians are named Timmy). So think about that. Icelandic (and old Norwegian) surnames names are traditionally also not especially distinguishing: Lavransdottir (daughter of Lavrans).

I share a real name with another academic. Fortunately he is not in the same field. We are unlikely to be confused. An internet search on our common name can confuse people, however.

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    With respect to the last paragraph, my undergrad lecturer on databases used as one example of how not to choose a primary key her bad experiences with the IEEE confusing her with another member who had the same name. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 8:04
  • Technically, the Icelandic second name is a patronymic rather than a surname. Also Korea has much less distinguishing family names: Kim, Lee, and Park covers about half the population. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 15:43
  • @MartinBonner, yes indeed. Also note that in several cultures a person has only one name. True in parts of India, I think, and also parts of Indonesia.
    – Buffy
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 15:45

As everyone has said, publication names don't have to match an official name such as that on your passport. The answer by Fabio Dias mentions ORCID. This is a good way to make sure that all the publications with different variants of a name are by the same person (and distinguish between two or more people with the same name).

This doesn't directly fix your problem of proving that you are the person who 'owns' that particularly ORCID. However, as part of the public information attached to an ORCID, you can include information such as employment, which would make that connection. Or a supervisor is likely to be a coauthor and probably one of your referees, so that also makes the connection.

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    ORCID offers an 'Also known as' section where OP can post his full legal name. Given that, anyone questioning whether OP owns that ORCID can rightfully be met with a stare of disbelief.
    – E.P.
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 8:49

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