Say, I want to publish a research paper. But, for some reason, I don't want to expose my identity.

Is it possible to publish a research paper using an alias?

  • 1
    Ever used Student’s t-test? “Student” was an alias for an employee of the Guinness brewery who didn’t want to be identified when he published his paper for business reasons. That advice is about a century out of date though ;)
    – SDS0
    Sep 11, 2020 at 8:28
  • 5
    Does this answer your question? Separating academic identity from social identity
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 11, 2020 at 9:57

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's possible and plenty of people will have done it.

Rather than try to repeat what has already been said in other answers on this forum, I'd invite you to take a look at the many questions that deal with what name people should choose when publishing articles. The short is:

  • It doesn't have to be your real name, but it should be the name by which people in the community know you in person, so they can associate the paper with the author.
  • You want to choose a name that will allow you to continue publishing under for the entirety of your career.

You can find some more considerations in the answers to other questions.

But it's possible that I misunderstand the question. Maybe you are interested in a one-off publication under a pseudonym because you don't want to be identified as the author? That's uncommon, and as an editor in a journal I would strongly argue against this because the free exchange of ideas also requires that one can have a conversation with an author. If the author doesn't want to be identified, that's not possible, and it's to the detriment of the development of science -- even though I understand that there are cases where a younger colleague may not want to write a critique of some senior scholar's publications, for example. I understand that such cases happen, and I get that publishing under a pseudonym is one solution that one can pursue, but I still think that that's not quite the right avenue either.

  • 1
    "If the author doesn't want to be identified, that's not possible" - let me add that this is an absolutely bad thibg (bad for society and science) given some of today's countries who prosecute scientists they don't like and who provide "not wanted truths".
    – user111388
    Sep 11, 2020 at 8:21
  • 1
    @user111388 That's fair. I don't know what to suggest in that case other than at least try and use a consistent alias and a pseudonymous email address. Sep 11, 2020 at 17:00

Yes it's possible, although you probably have to convince the editor why you'd want to do that.

Example of paper published with an alias.

  • This seems to be rather an example where the editor refused to allow publication with an alias: there is a comment on the arXiv version Note also that the published version lists the main contributors to the project as authors, at the insistence of the journal. Sep 11, 2020 at 8:55
  • @LazzaroCampeotti right, which is why I wrote one would need to convince the editor. There are other papers by the project that use the alias.
    – Allure
    Sep 11, 2020 at 10:03

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