I have about 500 citations on Google Scholar on 10-15 of my research papers. My partner and I started talking about name change. Basically, we’re thinking of use each other’s last names as our middle names (AB and CD become ADB and CBD). How will it effect my citations and publication record?

Would it be alright if I continue publishing under my original name without the middle name? I would prefer that. What have another academics done in the past?


3 Answers 3


You can publish under any name you like, including using a pseudonym. The only time that people really get upset is if you try to impersonate someone else.

More usefully, most of the citation databases, including Scopus, allow an author to link variant spellings and variant names (including radical and not-so-radical changes) all to be linked together. All one needs to do is notify the database creator that you are the person who has published under each of the variants. The point I'm making here, of course, is that while you can continue to publish under the same name as you have to date, you can also (reasonably) safely change your publication name without losing the citation statistics that are linked to your existing name.

By including an ORCID iD in all your publications, you can achieve a similar linking of names, but that would not, of itself, join your citations.

You might also like to have a look at this answer, and this one.


I suggest that, for publishing purposes, you stick to your original name by which you are already known. The name you use in social and legal situations and the one for professional use need not be the same.

There are work-arounds, but they require work both for you and for people wanting to know who wrote a particular bit of work.

Associate a name with your professional "persona" and stick to it, I recommend.


Would it be alright if I continue publishing under my original name without the middle name?

Yes. There is absolutely no expectation that someone with a middle name includes it (even as an initial) in publications.

It is of course entirely possible to use something quite different from your legal name, for instance continuing to publish under a previous surname, albeit with a chance of some minor administrative inconvenience at some point.

But what you are asking about is not just possible, but normal. No-one will even think twice if, for example, someone who publishes as "Charles Darwin" actually has full legal name Charles Robert Darwin, whereas if the legal name were Charles Robert Wedgwood they might feel the need to check that it is the same person.

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