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My first name is Евгений (it is Russian; the usual transliteration is Yevgeny). I was born in Ukraine in 1990, when it was still in the Soviet Union, where Russian was the official language. I lived there until 2011, when I went to Canada, where I am currently working on a Ph.D in mathematics. The name indicated in my passport is IEVGEN. It has undergone two rounds of changes: first it was translated from Russian into Ukrainian (Евгений => Євген), and then the Ukrainian version was transliterated into English under the transliteration rules that were valid at the time of receiving the passport. If I received the passport under the present rules, it would be spelled as IEVHEN. The issue here is that the sound in the Ukrainian version is something in between of G and H.

I am deeply unhappy with the "name" IEVGEN: it looks odd, it is not pronounced as the Ukrainian version, and it is definitely not how my parents named me.

I really don't want this spelling to appear on my publications, and ideally even on my Ph.D. thesis. Right now I don't know which version I would prefer, but let's consider YEVGENY, which is the closest to the original, and EUGENE, which is the English/French version of the same name. I know that I am the one who decides under which name to be published, but it raises the following question:

If at some point I will need to prove the authorship of a certain publication that bears a name slightly, or significantly different from what is in my documents, will that be a problem?

EDIT: some of the answers suggest me several ways of how to spell my name, and I appreciate them, but it is not what I have asked. My question only had to do with bureaucratic and juridical aspects of the problem.

EDIT 2: The title of the question was changed by an editor to "What author name to list on publications when English translation of Russian name on passport is unsatisfactory?", which is again completely misleading. I am not asking what to put on publication, I am asking about how to prove that the chosen name corresponds to me. So I edited the title back to the original.

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    A note: nowadays some journals (e.g. IEEE journals) support the publication of author names in their native languages. – Massimo Ortolano Oct 19 '16 at 14:34
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    Another note: author names are misspelled in databases so often that they generally accept the fact that two different entries can easily be the same person. (Also indispensable for maiden vs. married names.) I've seen at least three forms of my own name, and that's not counting inclusion / exclusion / TeX form / redundant Unicode normalization forms / inventive workarounds for diacritics. – The Vee Oct 19 '16 at 17:49
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    Out of curiosity, have you considered trying to change the Romanized name in your passport to Yevgeny? I actually have very little idea how hard that would be - have you investigated it? – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Oct 19 '16 at 19:32
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    @Robert Columbia I hope to get a Canadian passport at some point and have a normal name there. However, I don't see it happening in the observable future. As long as I am a citizen of Ukraine, which lives in the different continent, I believe it is very cumbersome, if at all possible. – erz Oct 20 '16 at 0:15
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    Anecdotally, one of my professors publishes articles and books under her maiden name, which does not appear in her passport at all (both her maiden and her married name are common surnames, too), and it has never caused her any trouble at all, apart from people who know her never quite knowing which name to use when referring to her in written correspondences with other people. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 20 '16 at 10:41
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As a possible solution if you are still worried about it: Get an ORCID account.

They basically created an ID, a DOI for researchers. If you link your publications to your ORC-ID, you don't need to worry if your name is very common (e.g. John Smith) or if someone misspelled your name.

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    Thank you, I have never heard about it. How "official" is it? – erz Oct 20 '16 at 0:20
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    @erz very! Its quite widespread. – Ander Biguri Oct 20 '16 at 7:10
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    @erz I think it is pretty well spread. ArXiV for example says it is going to phase out their author ID for ORCID. – Davidmh Oct 20 '16 at 7:13
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    +1 ORCID is an awesome initiative. About how "official" it is, it is not, @erz. But check the affiliation of the people involved. It is very abrangent. and widespread, indeed. – Mindwin Oct 21 '16 at 11:32
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    @erz I have worked around scientific publishing you can consider ORCID to be close to a standard in the industry, most recent metadata include it. Few notable examples arXiv promotes its usage and Elsevier, Springer and Wiley use it. – AsTeR Oct 24 '16 at 12:08
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Your question has a lengthy introduction, but finally:

If at some point I will need to prove the authorship of a certain publication that bears a name slightly, or significantly different from what is in my documents, will that be a problem?

No. A slight difference that can be explained by differences in transliteration is not a problem. This is not a court case, people working in academia are human. Some people even change their name completely (in some cultures this was or is common upon marriage) and still they can list articles under both names on their CV.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by significantly different because that doesn't apply here. Just use the transliteration you prefer.

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    If there really is doubt remaining, I would imagine that your intimate familiarity with the publication topic would be sufficient. I would be quite surprised to find a highly knowledgeable person with an uncommon name masquerading as another subject matter expert with a similar name! – Nuclear Wang Oct 19 '16 at 17:15
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    I approve this answer, and would add that publications usually give affiliation together with the name of author. Unless there is another Yevgeny/Eugene/Ievgen with the same last name as you in your department, any question about your authorship (however unlikely they are anyway) will be easily answered. – Benoît Kloeckner Oct 21 '16 at 12:19
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As mentioned in other questions, there’s no need at all for your academic name to match your legal name as indicated on a passport. So go wild.

More generally, Евгений, I would suggest that you take pride in your name, and maybe challenge the Eurocentrism/US-centrism of science a bit by using your original name in its original spelling. — At least in addition to a Latinised version.

I have mentioned elsewhere that this is unusual: publishers in particular (but also employers etc) really have trouble dealing with names that contain non-ASCII characters, among other things. But this is actually a shame: Own your heritage, and don’t let other peoples’ cultural insensitivity force you to forego it completely.

There’s obviously a balance to be struck between practicality and idealism but don’t make it too easy for people to become lazy with foreign names. On a personal note, I find it rather rude how little regard is often paid in the Western world to original names. Science has a diversity problem, and hiding non-Western culture sweeps this problem under the carpet.

Here’s my recommendation in full:

  • On your PhD thesis, use your original name and add your preferred Latinised spelling (e.g. Yevgeny) in parentheses.
  • In publications and when dealing with employers, at least try to make them use your original spelling alongside your preferred Latinised spelling. Don’t be nasty about it but at least make them realise that they’re inconveniencing you.
  • Use a consistent Latinised spelling.
  • Acquire an ORCID — though, to be honest, its usefulness at the moment is vastly overrated. Most publishers (in my field) flat out ignore it.

These are my recommendations. But the decision which spelling of your name to use is of course yours — you have the interpretive authority regarding your own name. Just don’t let that decision be taken away from you by other peoples’ inflexibility and lack of consideration.


Anecdote time: Don Knuth, one of the most eminent computer scientists, is one of the few authors to use the original spelling of names throughout the bibliography in his The Art of Computer Programming. This means Kyrillic, Japanese, Chinese etc. letters. I’ve done the same in my PhD thesis where I could find the original spelling.

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    +1 for Own your heritage. I have a fairly European name but with several diacritics and I've been putting it everywhere. Most of what they do is just put it in a database or print it. If their systems can't handle those tasks in Unicode, that's their problem to solve... it's 2016 for heavens' sake. – The Vee Oct 19 '16 at 17:55
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    Thank you for your suggestion, but it kind of defeats the purpose. The goal is to have a name that satisfies: 1. I like it and associate with myself (at least to some extent); 2. Anybody can read it, memorize and associate with me. And it has to be a SINGLE name, so the presence of another spelling will not contribute... As for taking pride in my heritage, I don't think that mathematics is the right place for that. I don't mind to spell my name in Latin alphabet, I guess I am naturally Eurocentristic. In fact my very name is Eurocentristic, as its version are present in all European languages. – erz Oct 20 '16 at 0:53
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    @terdon Until 5–10 years ago I would have agreed. Nowadays you’d get fairly little sympathy from me: there’s enough software (and for developers: libraries) out there that implement Unicode adequately. Case in point, it’s trivial to work with Unicode names in LaTeX. Just copy and paste the name and use a modern LaTeX processor. It’s a question of courtesy to accept this truly minimal inconvenience to get somebody’s name right. (Software developers get even less sympathy: it’s not society’s job to solve programming’s problem, it’s exactly the other way round.) – Konrad Rudolph Oct 20 '16 at 16:16
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    It's not just the tools. Very few people will know how to pronounce the name, thus nobody will ever remember it when reading, which means they'll just skip over it. Sure, heritage is all good and well, but be considerate to your readers. Maybe if it's a research paper on names in different cultures using the non-Latin characters would be acceptable, but I'd say that in Maths or other science-y fields... just put the Latin spelling. Less extreme example: in Canada my uncle's name is spelt Harry. In Finland (where he now lives), it's Harri. It's still the same name, despite the spelling. – user61733 Oct 21 '16 at 1:11
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    @KonradRudolph No, it is not just your decision. I have just in my hands a book of abstracts with every abstract in Russian and in English. Every name (no matter if western or Russian) is in Cyrillic in the Russian abstract and is Latin in the English Abstract. It is also the editor's decision. Mixing scripts within a single text is really weird and therefore you can read in newspapers about Барак Обама. – Vladimir F Oct 21 '16 at 9:20
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Orthodox ways:

My first suggestion would be to write "E. F. Surname" in the author line of all your papers, with the Latin "E" verbatim, and F being the first letter of your father's name. E.g.: "E. B. Uharikoff" for Евгений Беньяминович Ухариков and "E. O. Bender-Zadunaisky" for Евгений Остапович Бендер-Задунайский. Don't make the mistake to transliterate a middle name such as Беньяминович in full due to an apostrophe having to replace ь: it would cause you endless pain.

As a second choice, the translation of one of the main characters of your dear old Alexander Sergeevich was Eugene Onegin. You cannot do harm by Eugene Surname. Subjectively I like it and I have a friend whose first name is spelt like that on technical documents.

Do use ResearcherID, ORCID, and other means to make sure that you don't lose scientific credit.

Unorthodox way:

If you really wish to stand out: leave it cyrillic Евгений Фамилия or even Жека/Жендос/... (probably even without the surname) on your papers in the author line and provide a footnote with a romanized spelling "Eugene Surname".

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I expect you are publishing in English so choose one of the common ways to transcript or transliterate Russian Cyrillic into English latin letters. Some journals will just use the initial E or Y, some will use the full first name. Using one transcription consistently will make it easier for people citing your work.

Others have showed how to connect works published under a different name if that happens.

But if someone will write about you in a different language be prepared that they will use their own transliteration anyway. Jevgenij, Jewgeni, Evgeni, Evgenij, Yevgueni are all common and default ways to transcript Евгений in different European orthographies and using the English transcription in other language sometimes looks very strange.

Using the Cyrillic name in otherwise Latin script name also looks strange, I wouldn't do it. Even in Russian scientific texts the names use the same script as the rest of the text. They are in Cyrillic (even western names!) if the text is in Cyrillic and they are romanized if the text is in the Latin script (usually in the English or other world language).

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If you want to be known as Eugene in Canada (and in publications), go ahead. In your CV you can show the alternate spellings you have published under...

Eugene Onegin (a.k.a. Ievgen Onegin, Евгений Онегин)

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The long introduction is important. The answer might differ for academic assessments in different countries. The author might be publishing in two or three different languages with different transliterations suitable to each language (Japanese use Romaji versions of their names for English publications, Kanji versions for Japanese publications).

Digression: All the more reason to use an ORCHID account, and then publish research in the appropriate language and journal,for the appropriate audience. Can audience-targeting-efficiency be given academic credit in publishing impact assessments? Or is it dangerous to use more than one publishing name and dilute the personal brand?

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    I am pretty sure its ORC-ID, ORCID – Ander Biguri Oct 19 '16 at 15:10
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As others have written, it will likely not be a problem for you to argue that it's still you despite the different spelling of the name. I would add an (obvious) reason why this should be the case: No competition; there won't be other claimants of the credit for having written your papers than just you. Well, except in very strange and extreme cases.

Something I would suggest practically, though, is that when you write a paper, a dissertation or what-not, always include a footnote with the original Cyrillic spelling of your name. This should typically be rather simple since you already have a footnote with your university/company affiliation - just append to that footnote.

And a second practical suggestion: Why don't you try changing your official English transliteration of your name to whatever you want it to be? I don't know how these things work in Ukraine but I would think it's possible.

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It is quite common for Eastern European people to anglicise their names when settling in English speaking countries. I had a Hungarian co-worker who was originally named "Szillardi" and he got fed up with people calling him "Mr Salami" so he changed it to "Sillars". With first names its even a bigger issue. "Janos" is much harder for most people than "John". So why not change your name to Eugene or even Gene?

BTW: Details on changing the name on your passport may be found at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/services/correction.html

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    The correct way is to tell people that they should learn to pronounce such a simple name. Janos does not even use phonemes to different from those already present in English (nor does Szillardi, but one must learn that Sz is just /s/. – Vladimir F Oct 20 '16 at 11:32
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    If he has a Ukranian passport and is living in Canada, why would he be interested in a page detailing how to change names on a US passport? – TRiG Oct 21 '16 at 8:47

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