I have three given names, say Adam John Isaac. Furthermore I have one family name, say Harris. (The names are not my own, but the initials are.) On this website, I read that I can freely choose which names to put on a paper.

My first given name is not the name that I'm actually known as. Therefore, it feels a bit strange to put Adam J.I. Harris on a paper.

In other papers, I often see people placing initials between their (first) given name and family name. So far I have never seen initials before the first given name, like A. John I. Harris. This looks strange, in my opinion, both because an initial before the given name is uncommon, and it might be read as the word 'a' instead of the initial 'A.'.

Now I've been thinking of using John A.I. Harris on the paper. This way all my names/initials are there, and it looks less strange. Furthermore it's kind of funny, as I'm an AI student.

Another option would be to just stick with my calling name and family name: John Harris.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Can the initials A.I. be seen as some (stupid) joke, so could I better leave them out? Or doesn't it really matter at all, and should I just pick an option?

  • @MichaelC. My calling name is actually a given/official name, so the situation is not exactly the same. Furthermore I have a specific question about using the initials 'A.I.'. – Jonathan Feb 2 '17 at 13:11
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    Using "A.I." or not is opinion-based. You can choose whatever name on your paper. The key is consistency. Starting from your first paper, always use the same name so that it is easy to search and your reputation is established. Again, using whatever name is your own decision, not ours. – scaaahu Feb 2 '17 at 13:18
  • Actually, I think "A.I." is good because it's easy to remember. – scaaahu Feb 2 '17 at 13:20
  • I know several professors who use A. John Harris on their publications, and wouldn't think twice about seeing A. John I. Harris. It makes it very clear that you use the second of three given names. – KraZug Feb 2 '17 at 13:35
  • There is a guy who is in the same situation like yours, and he uses A. Jone I. Harris without any problem. He is also pretty famous in my field, see here: research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/leino/about.html#saywhat – qsp Feb 2 '17 at 17:38

I would not base such a decision on the fact that it is funny or not, as funny depends by the person that reads. Naming it is not a big issue as long as you are consistent during all your career. I would suggest you to pick up one of your three names, your surname and use the composition of them. As far as i understood, you are known as John Harris, so just go with this.


  • 1
    There can be some benefit in using an additional name or initial, even if it isn't one that you use in day-to-day life: it may help distinguish you from other people named John Harris (especially if that is a common name). – Nate Eldredge Feb 2 '17 at 17:18

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