I am nearly finished with a paper, as well as some accompanying open-source software. We are planning on submitting this to a prominent statistics journal. One of the more promising methods that we discuss in the paper deals with the normal-inverse Gaussian distribution, commonly referred to as the NIG distribution. This is usually pronounced “en-eye-gee”, but it’s understandable that some people say it phonetically (it’s a relatively obscure distribution).
In case it is not yet clear, my concern is that NIG is somewhat reminiscent of the “N word”. I had some reservations about writing NIG so many times in the paper and in the software (by convention, there would be many functions with NIG pre-fixes, e.g.
nig_foo()). I thought maybe I was overthinking things, but I’ve had a few people (including a co-author) comment about the potentially inappropriate nature of this name.
Thus I feel like it might be worthwhile to refer to this distribution by a different name. It is not uncommon for distributions in statistics to have multiple names (e.g., normal vs. Gaussian), and we would make it clear that it is the same distribution. The problem is, I feel very unqualified to just change the name of distribution that has been around for 40 years.
If we do change the name, here’s a short list of some of the things I’ve considered.
- The Normal-Wald Distribution (Wald is another name for inverse-Gaussian)
- The Gauss-Wald Distribution (Same idea)
- The Barndorff-Nielsen distribution (Ole Barndorff-Nielsen was one of the first researchers looking into this distribution)
- The Barndorff distribution (Less wordy, but I don’t want to remove a surname without asking him)
Is it a bad idea to change the name? I’m slightly uncomfortable with it, but I might be overthinking it.
If I do change the name, what’s the most reasonable choice? (I realize this is very subjective, but feedback is welcome)
I don't think that the name of the distribution is intentionally or overtly "racist". The main point is that (i) this distribution is relatively obscure and (ii) many distributions have multiple names so it might make sense to have an alternative that has no chance of being problematic.