I am currently a Canadian grad student about to publish my first paper. However, I really dislike my real legal name, to the point where very few of my real-life friends know my real first and last name. This is mostly because I come from China, and my legal name is a difficult-to-pronounce transliteration of my original Chinese name, which itself sounds very tacky and funny in Chinese. Even my parents are embarrassed at how they named me and use a totally unrelated nickname to address me even in Chinese. (to use an English analogy, I go by "Jake" when my real name is "Alexander")

Is it possible to publish consistently under a pen name that has no relation to your real name? I am not seeking to use it as a throwaway name for a single publication, but rather to simply be known as a different name. I don't even intend to hide my real name - it'll likely end up being in parentheses on my personal webpage or something. I just don't want to see a name I'm embarrassed of on every single thing I publish.

  • 1
    I see no problem with this. Is you search "name publication" in this forum, you will find many similar questions.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 16, 2017 at 21:27
  • Why would you be ashamed of "Alexander"? Having said that, I think I saw few people using some nickname for their first names, usually from foreign (i.e., non English speaking) origin.
    – PsySp
    Mar 16, 2017 at 21:28
  • 2
    @PsySp I was just using an example to illustrate that the nickname I go by in Chinese is phonetically unrelated to my "real" Chinese name.
    – ithisa
    Mar 16, 2017 at 21:29
  • 1
    @user54609 Ah ok, I see. It seemed like "Alexander" is a name to be ashamed of. I get it now.
    – PsySp
    Mar 16, 2017 at 21:30
  • @NateEldredge I read that question as asking about using a pseudonym for a single work rather than changing your "academia name" semi-permanently.
    – ithisa
    Mar 17, 2017 at 1:20

2 Answers 2


My answer to another question applies equally here:

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 [Jake].


Sir C.A.R Hoare published many papers under the pet name Tony Hoare (of course not legal name). There is no problem for him, DBLP doesn't get confused either.

I know some Asians add English first name when publishing papers. For example, if his name is Xiaoli Feidao (embarrassed enough???), and he publishes papers under the name Lee Xiaoli Feidao (or even Lee X. Feidao). That way it is still easy to claim authorship without explanation, and people can just call him Lee.

  • Lee sounds chinese enough :)
    – BioGeo
    Mar 18, 2017 at 12:26

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .