I am in my second year of my PhD and am about to get married. I plan to take on my husband's name with my name and not keep my maiden name. But I have two publications already. What can I do so that I can associate my publications even after my surname change. Also, if I keep on publishing with my maiden name and use my husband's surname socially, and also change my surname in passport, won't there be a conflict when I apply for visa to attend conferences due to the two different surnames?

  • If you keep your (maiden) surname as a middle name after marriage, and publish that way, everything will sort itself out after a few publications under the new name. – Bob Brown Mar 12 '16 at 3:24
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    When you apply for a visa, you'll almost certainly have to tell them any names you used in the past which, of course, includes your maiden name. The worst case is that you require a letter of invitation from the conference organizers and you'll have to ak them to address that to your professional name, rather than your passport name. – David Richerby Mar 12 '16 at 5:19
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    Honestly, though, if you only have a couple of publications in your maiden name, it seems easiest to just switch to using your husband's surname for everything. – David Richerby Mar 12 '16 at 5:20
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    @scaaahu et al. I don't think this is can be considered a duplicate, because the linked question refers only to the CV, while here Rose asks a more general question. In fact, the most upvoted answer here virtually corresponds to the most downvoted answer there, considered as a non-answer to the question. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 12 '16 at 12:37
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    @MassimoOrtolano I flagged the mods to consider the merge. (It's close to my bed time now. I don't have the energy to ask a question on meta) – scaaahu Mar 12 '16 at 13:09

You should also consider registering for an identifier, such as ORCID or Researcherid. This way you can have an additional layer that relates your profile with your work. It is used in many submission websites and it is becoming quite common for funding agencies to require such a profile when submitting applications as well.


Having been in the same situation, let me share my experiences.

I was fortunate enough that I did not have anything published yet, only accepted, so it was possible to get the name changed before the paper was published (if you have anything in the pipeline, make sure to notify the editors as soon as you can). But as it is only a few papers, I would suggest the following:
Clearly you can't get your name changed on any printed versions, but it is certainly worth inquiring whether it is possible to have an addition made to electronic publications stating the new name (with a footnote about the change). If the paper exists in any other form (such as on preprint servers or personal webpages), make the change to those versions (again with a footnote explaining the change).
If you cannot get the name changed on the papers in any way, make sure you point out on any future CV's and similar that some of the papers are in a different name. For many purposes, this will be the main reason it is important to be linked to those first papers.

Be prepared to sign all mails with both names for a while, at least the first time you are in contact with someone, so that people will be aware of the change. And make sure to keep whatever email you used to use (if you have one that includes your last name), so people trying to contact you about those papers can still do so, even if they are not aware of the name change.


Often your passport will have your maiden name, too. There might even be an empty field in your current passport. If in doubt for a Visa that you already have: call the embassy. Most likely they will tell you to use the name that is in the passport (surprise) until you get the passport changed. If you get a new passport, your will have to get a new visa obviously. Your new passport will likely contain your old name, too. Ask a friend that is married about their passpoe rt. If you just get a sticker/stamp/print in your passport with the new name then it's not a problem. Essentially, consider a Visa to be tied go your passport, and assume that until you get your passport changed you have to use your old name when traveling. It is fairly standard to become married and change the name, you know... some people even get married abroad. Authorities know how to process this, and the usual procedure seems to be: use the old name until you get a new passport.

As for publications: You can't change "printed" copies, but you can make sure all your webpages and your CV clarify the name change: "Jane Doe (née Obama)" such that when someone searches for your old name + affiliation they do get a pointer to your new name. That should be your key objective: if someone googles for the publication and your old name, they should find your new identity.

As for impact: of course some people will not associate these publications easily with your name, unless you do some good follow-up publications or get to know otherwise. But neither for your PhD nor for your scientific career this will matter much on the long run. Obviously your PhD committee will learn about the name change... and you can still add your old publications to your scholar profile as well as list them in your CV (again, you can emphasize the name change by giving your maiden name).


The easiest work-around, which completely eliminates ambiguity, is to use the word nee (more strictly née), which means:

originally called; born (used in giving a married woman's maiden name after her surname).

An example (from Google) is: "Mary Toogood, née Johnson".

This will ensure complete consistency, and leaves nothing ambiguous.

Hope that helps. :)

  • How do you propose to achieve "complete consistency" when there are already publications without this modifier? – Ben Voigt Mar 12 '16 at 6:50
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    @BenVoigt - Because anyone who comes across this and knows/finds out the meaning of this modifier, knows what exactly is cooking here. And of course, the modifier comes into existence only when you get married, so it is not a matter of concern that earlier publications didn't carry this. (Of course, they can not!) – 299792458 Mar 12 '16 at 7:20
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    -1, doesn't answer either of OP's questions, and isn't clear on when/how to use the double surname (while OP states that she does not want to preserve her maiden name). – Federico Poloni Mar 12 '16 at 8:28
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    I shudder to think what Google Scholar and other indexing services will do to a paper authored by "Foo, née Bar". Not a good suggestion for someone who wants all her publications associated with whatever name she goes for. – Stephan Kolassa Mar 12 '16 at 9:45
  • I assume you're suggesting that OP use née in her CV, not on the title page of her paper. Right? – JeffE Mar 12 '16 at 14:39

you can use both your maiden name and your husband's surname in parallel.For example if your name before marriage was X Y, and your husband's name is A B, then after marriage you can use X Y(B) as your name. This can be solution of your problem.And during VISA you have to show your marriage certificate and the supportive documents in the context of your maiden name.

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    This does not really answer the question: the OP clearly stated that she doesn't want to keep her maiden name. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 12 '16 at 14:20
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    I have never seen anybody use a name with parentheses in it. – David Richerby Mar 12 '16 at 18:26

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