I am an undergraduate student who is co-authoring a publication for a scientific journal for the first time. My advisor has asked what I want my name and affiliation to be but I need some guidance.

My full name is Elizabeth Grace Duncan, but I go by Lizzi. I go to Virginia Tech which has the full name Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University although Virginia Tech is also an official name. I am majoring in statistics and minoring in math.

I'm thinking I should say my name is Elizabeth G. Duncan and affiliation is Virginia Tech Statistics Undergraduate. Is this appropriate detail? Any help is appreciated!

  • 2
    Hard to say about the middle name, that probably depends somewhat on the journal, but otherwise you want the full first name, full last name, full name of the university and department. The fact that you're an undergraduate doesn't really matter unless it's directed to an undergrad journal.
    – Ian
    Nov 28, 2019 at 3:55
  • why not ask what other use for institutional affiliation? Leave the undergrad part out. Nov 28, 2019 at 4:08
  • It seems to be common to put the department before the university in the affiliation. Journals are likely to standardize such things, but I expect that they'll leave your name in whatever form you choose. Nov 28, 2019 at 5:12
  • 2
    It's not common in most fields to list your actual position as part of an affiliation. Usually affiliation is just Department, University - no mention of your student role.
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 28, 2019 at 7:36

4 Answers 4


In terms of “standard” conventions, I would suggest:

Elizabeth G. Duncan, Department of Statistics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

If the research you’ll be publishing was conducted as part of a research group, however, you might list that affiliation instead, e.g., “Applied Statistics Lab, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University“


My suggestion for your name would be: whatever you come up with, do a couple of google searches first to find out if it is sort of unique.

If there are, for example, already a couple of Elizabeth Duncans active in some other area of science, it might be worth thinking about an alternative spelling of your name (or even Lizzy Duncan) just so that it is easier to figure out which research was done by you and which by similarly named people all over the world.

The go-to "default" (at least as far as I have seen) would be something like:

Elizabeth G. Duncan
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

You don't have to mention that you are currently in an undergraduate programm.


I would say: your name, your choice. Consider creating an ORCID which is unique. In case you feel like adapting your publication name, this ID remains the same.

As to the affiliation: usually there are guidelines by the instition. Ask your advisor and consider the affiliation they are using in publications.


If you use the full name Elizabeth, I would definitely suggest to keep the middle initial: it is useful to disambiguate you from other authors with the same name, and makes automatic citation tracking more effective.

You can also opt for Lizzi, which could make a warmer, more personal impression, but it could cause some minor trouble in future (example: you sign up for a conference in a far away country as "Lizzi", because that's the name you want to appear on your name tag; the organizers get you a visa to enter the country, and customs complain that the visa says "Lizzi" while your passport says "Elizabeth").

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