My name is SALMAN. No Middle and Last name. How do I write my name in research paper or article?

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    @scaaahu One day looking at the students enrolled in a course of mine, I saw a name like XXX Abcd. XXX, really? When I met the student in the classroom I asked him: "Is your name really XXX?" No, he said, I don't have a name, I'm just Abcd, but the university enrollment system doesn't accept an empty name field. And so the secretary just put XXX. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 9:24
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    My first suggestion would be to write it as "SALMAN". Have you tried it? Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 9:33
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    In your home culture, is there some form that would be used to distinguish you if there were two Salman's at the same school or workplace? Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 11:15
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    Relevant article: kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/…
    – pipe
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 12:25
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    Regardless of what is on your ID card, you can decide what name you want to use on your published papers. Do you want to just use Salman or SALMAN, or is there something else you would prefer? Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 15:21

6 Answers 6


You have two choices.

Either just use your given name, e.g., as in Matthew B. Dwyer, John Hatcliff, Robby, Venkatesh Prasad Ranganath: Exploiting Object Escape and Locking Information in Partial-Order Reductions for Concurrent Object-Oriented Programs. That has two advantages – it's formally and culturally correct – and two disadvantages – you will have to explain it to many people, and finding you in any search engine is awfully difficult.

Alternatively, invent some "first" name or initial, so for instance, you might publish as "S. Salman". That's formally incorrect, but probably more convenient in most situations.

Whatever you do, do it consistently. That's the most important recommendation.

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    Some more suggestions: S.A.L.Man, Sal Mann.
    – Džuris
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 11:24
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    Or even go with Salman Salman in places that require two names. That way people will get it right no matter which one they choose. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 12:21
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    Using a single name in such a context might alternatively be regarded as an advantage, since it's more unusual, so someone reading the paper, or meeting Salman at a conference, might be more likely to remember him and his work. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 12:21
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    Use the chosen form prominently on your web sites. Someone reading one of your papers may try to learn more about your research by searching for you by the name on the paper. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 15:25
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    In addition to this advice, I would strongly urge SALMAN to correctly set up an online presence on as many channels as possible: set up profiles on ORCID, Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, any relevant Stack Exchange sites, Github, Bitbucket, and any relevant others, and make sure that they are all appropriately linked, discoverable, and contain accurate listings of their research output. This then helps offset the difficulties in finding mononymous authors through standard search channels.
    – E.P.
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 18:37

Not everybody in the world fits into the western idea of first name, maybe middle name/names, last name.

Regardless of what your ID card says, you can publish your papers under whatever name you want. Some people use pseudonyms. Much more common is that many women continue to publish under their maiden name when they marry and change their surname.

There's no reason you can't publish papers as Salman.

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    "(...) you can publish your papers under whatever name you want" - a very important point not mentioned in other answers! Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 2:17
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    @dtldarek I have no idea how happy a journal editor would be if I tried to publish a paper under a deliberately offensive pseudonym. But, come on, that's not what we're talking about, here. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 10:08
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    @dtldarek Of course, you are right that one should be careful when choosing the name, and there are many practical considerations (many of which are discussed in more detain on this SE) which go into this. All I wanted to emphasise is that you can choose the name, there are no hard rules saying what name you can and cannot use. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 13:47
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    A slightly unrelated side note: While not as common, some men do change their name as well when marrying (e.g. in Germany). So this point does not only apply to women.
    – Emil
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:35
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    > you can publish your papers under whatever name you want. – yes! To give an example, Dr. Perelman, who proved the Poincaré conjecture, is officially called "Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman", the typical naming on the paper would be "Grigori Y. Perelman" or "Grigori Perelman". His proofs carry the name "Grisha Perelman". This is a shorthand of his first name, probably because he is comfortable being called this way. So, yes, you can use whatever name you want. Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 15:04

Some mononymous professors:

Johnson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Google Scholar

Dean of the College of Information
University of North Texas
Google Scholar

Professor of Communication
College of Arts and Sciences
Santa Clara University

As you can see, you are not alone. All these professors seem to be using their (single) name in publications. (No doubt there are others too, who have a single name, but use variant forms in publications.)

(Edit: These examples, along with examples of professors who have the same first and last names, are collected on the Improbable Research blog.)

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    It's curious to note that while on Dr. Kinshuk's Google Scholar profile the attribution is correctly noted, the corresponding Google Scholar page for Arvind has his name missing from most papers, incorrectly noted for a few, and it does this monstruosity.
    – E.P.
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 0:04
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    Also, were you previously aware of these, or did you just now go looking for them? If the latter, it would be good to note how you find them, so Salman can look further in that direction.
    – E.P.
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 0:05
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    @E.P. I was previously aware of these (having some interest in names), but I probably came across them via mini-AIR, maybe this :-) Come to think of it, some of the others on that list may be relevant too (if the OP chooses "Salman Salman"). And yes, looks like Google Scholar's automated systems don't always deal correctly with these attributions, as will probably many other programs. :-( Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 0:17
  • Ah, that would be it - of course, a perfectly natural subject for Ann. Imp. Res. And yes, Salman may well find many of those examples useful - please consider adding the link to your answer.
    – E.P.
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 0:21
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    Does SunWolf really has a capital W in the middle of their name? That's horrible. I'm now imagining they spend most of their days on the phone, talking to publishers etc, trying to remove the space.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 18:24

A colleague of mine with a unique name uses his father's name as his "first" name (usually just the initial) for his publications.

In various systems, it is common practice to use the father's or mother's name for further disambiguation (e.g., Indian visa application form ask for that information).

The above choice transposes this practice into the first-name surname system and if I understood my colleague correctly is commonly used.

This is somewhat close to Uwe's second suggestion, except that you do not literally invent it, but rather follow a systematic way to assign it.

This might have the advantage that it is easier to explain the situation, than with an arbitrarily self-selected name.

A drawback that colleague mentioned is that sometimes he will be addressed by his "first" name, so his father's name.

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    One advantage of inventing an initial only is that people will not address you by a wrong name.
    – Uwe
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 10:42
  • Yes. I believe I said this more or less in my answer. But an initial only, even more so an invented one, might raise more questions, and possibly create issues when filling out forms etc. It might come down to an individual preference what one prefers/does mind less explaining or with which explanation one is more comfortable. Plus, as I said, it's not a random idea of mine, but for some transposes something they are used to doing in a different form, and anyway it is something that some, I think quite many in fact, people in that situation do.
    – quid
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 12:45
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    This is actually how surnames appeared historically in the first place in many cultures.
    – vsz
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 15:16
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    @vsz indeed, Partonymic and Matronymic naming are wide spread, and also were common in some "Western" countries, even well into the 20th century. Indeed, it seems in Iceland such a system is still in place. That's why I think if the question arises the explanation "I use my father's/mother's name for this (as this is common in my culture)" is one that will work better with many than "I just invented that name-field datum"
    – quid
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 16:14

An old lecturer of mine had this problem; he had stopped using his surname in his younger days, and all official paperwork referred to him by only one name. However he found, when it came to publishing papers, that many journals assumed his single name must be a middle name of another author on the paper. His solution was to use his name twice.

It also allowed him to make a joke along the lines of “so good they named me twice”.


You could use your father's name + "son" as your last name (or "daughter", "dottir", etc, with an S between, perhaps).

If, for example, your father were also named SALMAN, you could be SALMAN SALMANSON. Sounds great!

That in your case it is a literal description rather than a hereditary name or one assigned to you at birth is not a problem.

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