I have the following basic questions regarding my name on a research paper.

  1. Is it compulsory to write the complete name on a research paper (if it is a long name)?

  2. Is it acceptable for an author to use a sligthly different name on a paper than on a previous paper?

For example, if the author’s name would be K. Manoj Kumar Reddy and the shortened name would be K. Manoj Reddy.

  • 1
  • 8
    As a sidenote: That name is not excessively long. What good comes from shortening it?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Oct 19 '15 at 8:19
  • 2
    @Wrzlprmft My name is not very long (three words, 2-4 syllables each), but I very much prefer shortening it to only two words when I can, because the compound family name has made my life complicated on numerous occasions. (I wouldn't shorten someone else's name, of course.) I know it's just an anecdote, but other people have probably had similar experiences.
    – user9646
    Oct 19 '15 at 11:56
  • 4
    @Wrzlprmft For one thing, it's not obvious how much of the full name is the surname, so it's not obvious how to cite the asker's work. Oct 19 '15 at 13:09
  • 2
    Are you asking about shortening your own name or someone else's? Are you asking about shortening the name in the original paper, or when you cite it in a new paper? Oct 19 '15 at 14:57

It is best to be consistent with how one writes his/her name in a paper. If the author usually writes his/her name in full (or vice versa), then you should follow that pattern. This makes it easier for other researchers and software to verify that two papers were co-authored by the same person.

  • 9
    On the other hand, if you are going to change the name you use on your papers, it's probably better to do it now, while there are only a couple of papers in the "old" name. Oct 19 '15 at 13:10
  • Also look at cases where the author has cited their own papers, as there are more likely to be examples of abbreviation there.
    – David K
    Oct 19 '15 at 15:31
  • can I use an author name different with my daily name, which also different with my real name?
    – Ooker
    Oct 21 '15 at 18:17

The issue with names is that there is still no standard unique identifier of an author (*). I.e. for a paper, the community has more or less converged to use DOIs. However, this has not been the case for authors.

The implication is that there is no way to disambiguate names: is John Smith in paper A the same John Smith of paper B? John D. Smith in paper C and John Doe Smith in paper D are the same person?

One way to mitigate this problem, from an author perspective, is to choose a name that is unique, or at least unique in your field of research (a real problem for e.g. researchers from China). On the other hand, choosing a name too long can, arguably, be detrimental because readers will not memorize it so easily.

Thus, the recommendation is: use one and only one name throughout your scientific career, and choose that name wisely (e.g. ask feedback from your supervisor). That name doesn't need to be the full name, nor has to be a shortened one; just need to uniquely represent who you are named.

Ideally, I should google for your name and the first occurrence should be either your homepage or your google scholar page (or a paper of yours).

I personally memorize the name easily when it has a first and last name. E.g. John D. Smith, or Kendall M. K. Reddy, and only use the middle letters to disambiguate the name, when needed.

(*) there are some attempts, but it is not a standard AFAIK.


In the case of the citing the papers without DOI, using a different name in comparison with the preceding publications of an specific author may make great troubles for citing systems (just like google scholar). Consequently, the statistics regarding the citations of that author might be flawed.

So, One would assert that the researchers should determine their name within the affiliation, once, and stick to it in the future.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.