In the “acknowledgments” section at the end of a paper, I currently have a sentence saying:

The authors thank Bob Johnson for discussions and insightful comments

However, I wonder: Bob’s full name is Robert Z. Johnson, he is a professor and a fellow of the Royal Society. Should his title be used? What about post-nominal letters? And middle initial? Finally, is it “Bob” or “Robert”?

I initially went with “Bob Johnson”, because that’s how everyone calls him (heck, his academic webpage is title “Bob Johnson”!). But is that appropriate?

1 Answer 1


In general, when in doubt, you should use the name of the author as it appears professionally. If the person in question publishes under a particular name, you should use that. The only exception is if you and the author have an existing relationship outside of this, in which case it is appropriate to use a less formal name.

You do not normally need to include honorifics ("Prof.", "Dr.", etc.) unless specifically asked to do so.

This leads to the final point: if you have any questions about how someone should be credited in an acknowledgment, ask. They'll generally be more than cooperative.


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