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Is it acceptable in cases when your last name changes based on your gender, to change the name to make it simpler for English language readers? This is common in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc.

So for example, I might be called Ellen Bartowska (even though my husband's name is Charles Bartowski). I don't want to let my surname be aligned to my gender as female. So I want to submit my paper just as Ellen Bartowski. Is it acceptable? Are there some formal requirements about this?

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    Can you clarify in what sense you think it’d be “simpler” for English language readers to be told your last name is Bartowski and not Bartowska? I know of many female authors from eastern and central Europe who publish under their “gendered” last name and have never seen anyone who found this confusing in any way.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 7:01
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    Why would your husband's name spelling matter for publishing your research?
    – Anca
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 8:07
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    Use whatever name any time, but also, just an ORC-ID: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/78507/… Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 9:29
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    Westerners are very familiar with women who don't take their husband's surname when they get married, and there are even some couples where the husband takes the wife's surname, or they both take a hyphenate. I don't think anyone would really notice or care.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 14:29
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    IMO, "to make it simpler for English language readers" and "I don't want to let my surname be aligned to my gender as female" are completely different reasons to want to publish with one name or another. I don't think changing an "a" for an "i" would mean any significant difference for english readers (some of them might be familiar with this custom and could find it weird or uncommon, but nothing else), so maybe your second reason actually has more weight to your decision.
    – Josh Part
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 15:32

5 Answers 5

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Yes, you can submit under a name you choose, even a pseudonym in many cases. But you should probably choose a name early that you will stick with throughout your career to make it easier to find your work as a whole. Some people, often women, will choose their birth name.

In particular, you don't need to choose your legal name (as on a passport) for purposes of publishing.

There have been cases in which a prominent person chooses a name that is purely fictitious, sometimes to make it possible to publish in several different fields or in both a scientific and popular or political field.

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It is acceptable but careful what you wish for. I know a person twice married who insisted on attaching her husband’s name to her maiden name in early publications, but life can get in the way and now it’s a bit of a mess to search for her papers. (Thankfully she has always used her maiden name in all publications and she does have a distinctive name.)

It’s hard enough to get proper recognition in most academic fields so simplicity and uniformity is the key.

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Based on the answer at another similar question, it seems like a good idea to use your real name as that's useful for proving your authorship in the future. Here's the full quote:

First of all, always be consistent. Whatever you decide, that is what you will always have to use.

Considering the first point, might be better to strive and use your real name as it is with the non-english characters. You will have less problems in the future to prove your authorship in case questions rise. Complain to systems who do not accept your non-english characters...

It's a little bit more difficult when you have non-ascii characters in your name as systems can be limited and not support them even.

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Short answer:

  • If the venue at which you submit your work supports digital identifiers, such as those managed by https://orcid.org, creating and associating such an identifier with your work might prevent any future issue with whichever name you wish to use in your publications.
  • In any case, yours is a completely reasonable question to ask to the chairs of a conference or to the editor of a journal before submitting your work: even if they have no issue with your choice of identification, they should be aware of the situation in case there are some complications later (e.g. from the referees).

Longer Answer:

  • There should be no legal problem in using whichever identification you wish for your work, but you should check with the chair or editor of the media to which you are sending your work, in case they have their own specific rules.

  • As for the consequences in the long term, you should be aware that being consistent in which identification you use (whether official or fictional) in all of your publications used to be critically important for recognition in general, and when applying for academic positions in particular. For instance, many divorced scientist women from cultures where the wife adopts her husband's last name endured some complications later.

  • Such problems were in great part addressed by the introduction of codes to uniquely identify authors and contributors of academic communications, such as ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). Dixit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORCID,

This addresses the problem that a particular author's contributions to the scientific literature or publications can be hard to recognize as most personal names are not unique, they can change (such as with marriage), have cultural differences in name order, contain inconsistent use of first-name abbreviations and employ different writing systems. It provides a persistent identity for humans, similar to tax ID numbers, that are created for content-related entities on digital networks by digital object identifiers (DOIs).

Good luck with the reviewing process of your work! May referee number two be gentle upon you!

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As other answers have said, yes you can generally publish under whatever pen-name you like.

However, at some point you may find your self applying for jobs and therefore providing at least a CV and a publications list, so you should expect to be able to explain why you are listed under different names in different places.

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