I am now working towards my PhD degree. In the very near future, I will have a citizenship change, which also leads to a name change. In detail, I am adding another given name to my current name with the original surname and given name untouched. So it's like going from

FirstName1 LastName


FirstName2 FirstName1 LastName

I already have some publications under my current name, FirstName1 LastName, which I do not wish to lose after my name change. At the very start of my PhD, my supervisor has advised me to stay consistent with the name for a better recognition in the field.

Is there a way to minimize my loss of recognition in the academia? Will the publication stats tools, such as Google Scholar, include my publications under my new profile?

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    There are no rules that say that you have to use your full legal name on your publications. In your case, you could just continue using FirstName1 LastName on your publications. Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 8:46
  • @PieterNaaijkens True, but I kinda wish to switch to the new name... Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 8:47
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    Just an idea: Could you upload a revision of your publications to arXiv with your full new name? Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 9:05
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    This seems very closely related to this question, and the answers there cover most of the issues you need to consider.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


I would recommend sticking with what you started using, since there is no real advantage not to. That said, if you really want to change I don't think a change in first name will affect you much. Depending on the citation style, the name change won't even be visible. I don't think this particular change is anywhere near a change of last name in terms of impact on your popularity.

With regards to Google Scholar: you can always add your new publications manually to your profile in the unlikely case that scholar borks, so that's not an issue.

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    The first initial is likely to be visible in most styles (I would even hazard all styles if the surname is common). So a mismatch there might look odd
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 12:57
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    Assumptions based on Western naming patterns may not apply. If the person hails from a culture where some first and/or surnames are very common (e.g. Chinese), a different first or middle name may scream "different person".
    – Raphael
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 14:09
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    @Marc: I'm downvoting this answer because prepending an initial is a nontrivial name change, unless the student has a very distinctive last name. Going from Q. Pseudonymous to A. Q. Pseudonymous is probably fine; going from J. Smith to T. J. Smith, however, could be much more problematic.
    – aeismail
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 15:35

I'd go for the change. Firstly, you want it, so if you stick with the old it's always going to bug you. Secondly, if you don't, you're stuck with a professional and a personal name. Imagine, for instance, that a friend of yours meets a potential contributor and tells him to google you. If the friend doesn't know your professional name, you miss out on a possible network connection. The damage goes both ways. If you change, you only have to worry about past publications.

You can mitigate the damage by maintaining a well-curated list of publications:

  • Sign up for things like a scholar profile, and Mendeley profile. These pages will be spidered by other services, and used to correct their databases. Just add the publications manually.
  • Find a curated database of publications for your field (like DBLP) and make sure that all your publications are linked to the same person in there. A decent database should be able to hold aliases for a person. Basically, if you make sure that the most authoritative source gets it right, the information should trickle down.

If you show some diligence in maintaining this data, and letting people know that some publications are known under a different name, it shouldn't impact your career noticeably.

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