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Suppose my legal name is Stephen and that everyone (family, friends, and also colleagues and professors) calls me Steve (being aware that my legal name is actually Stephen).

Suppose also that I prefer being called Steve and would like to publish my papers (starting from the first one) under "Steve Surname".

It seems to me that the academic world (in particular, the mathematical world, as it is pointed out in other questions asked on this website) is very liberal when it comes to these matters (i.e. pseudonyms).

However, I'd like to ask preemptively if -- to the best of your knowledge and experience -- there could be any nuissances of any kind (not necessarily in the form of legal troubles) in signing legal documents (which, of course, include my thesis) using Stephen while employing Steve instead of Stephen on papers or (if in the future it will be the case) monographs (let's assume published by the main publishers -- Springer, AMS, PUP, OUP, etc.) and in the personnel list on the university website.


To make an example of possible nuissance: do Research Gate, Academia.edu, and other similar websites allow you to register under a name that is a shorter form of your legal one?


To clarify: in order to pose this question, I choose

  • Stephen: because, like my own name, it is a nice name, that is to say, neither too long nor cumbersome;
  • Steve: because, like my own "calling name", it is slightly shorter, but not very-informal-sounding per se: in fact many people in various countries use it as legal first name.

Further clarification: I've seen this question. Mine is quite different though. In fact, I realize that it is possible (and accepted) to publish under a pen-name, and I'm asking specifically if there are any "legal" (so to say) nuissances associated to this practice. To make just few examples, when being included in the personnel list on the university website, when being included in the list of participants to a conference, when signing up to a website like Research Gate, etc.

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  • @EnergyNumbers: I've seen that question. Mine is quite different though, because I know that it is possible (and accepted) to publish under a pen-name, and I'm asking specifically if there are any "legal" nuissances (for example, when being included in the personnel list on the university website, when being included in the list of participants to a conference, when signing up to a website like Research Gate, etc.)
    – user42770
    Oct 19 '15 at 14:20
  • David Z's answer there completely answers your question here. That satisfies the definition of a duplicate.
    – 410 gone
    Oct 19 '15 at 14:24
  • @EnergyNumbers: If I understand correctly, his main point is "But in general: nobody [publishers] checks (or cares) whether the name you put on a published paper matches your official name". However, I'm missing where he addresses the other "legal" (so to say) concerns mentioned above.
    – user42770
    Oct 19 '15 at 14:33
  • None of those are legal concerns. No one cares about a difference between your legal name and nom de plume. Which is what David Z said.
    – 410 gone
    Oct 19 '15 at 18:30
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Typically, you have full choice over which variant of your name you choose to publish under.

I know people who use a shortened version of their first name, substitute their (preferred) middle name, use their pre-marriage last name, etc. Publishers don't care and funding agencies use stronger unique identifiers. I doubt that places like ResearchGate and Academia.edu constrain you either.

Just be sure to be consistent, and consider ORCID to help with disambiguation.

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  • Thanks for your answer. So publishers aren't bothered by this kind of changes and Research Gate and others shouldn't be [is there any way to check this?]. Do you know anything about other possible annoyances? (e.g., if some 'trouble' may arise when being included in the personnel list on the university website, when being included in the list of participants to a conference, etc.)
    – user42770
    Oct 19 '15 at 14:41
  • (FYI: I've just checked and with Research Gate, there're should be no problems.)
    – user42770
    Oct 19 '15 at 15:06
  • @Akio Most universities I know allow people to choose how they self-identify, which would include the personnel list. Conferences typically care about names even less than journals. You probably can't get away with a joke name, but mostly as long as you're being professional nobody will interfere.
    – jakebeal
    Oct 19 '15 at 16:11