I'm about to publish my first article and from what I've been reading, everyone suggests that you should be consistent with the name you choose. My first name is "Sobhan" and my last name is "Omranian Khorasani". In my country, I always introduce myself as "Sobhan Omranian" and never mention the other part and I want to keep it that way in my academic career. The problem is that if I mention my full name, then I would be probably known as "S.O. Khorasani" which is unwanted.

My question would be, would I face any issues regarding my ID (e.g., university admission or applying for a job), if I omit the last part of my family name and then for the sake of uniqueness, add a middle name? (Something like "S.A. Omranian")

If yes, can I improvise and and add a hyphen between my multiple surnames? (Omranian-Khorasani) or are there better ways to achieve what I want.

  • 8
    Whatever you end up doing pick one version and stick to it.
    – JoErNanO
    Apr 30, 2017 at 11:56
  • 1
    Or perhaps more journals could start publishing using the (sm)all caps for surname convention that many journals use to make it super clear whether it's surname first, or more than a single name in the surname. I have to admit, I find it absolutely amazingly (in a sad way) that journals and databases still haven't figured out that not everyone has a single family name that appears at the end of the full name. (I leave this as a common, as I recognize entirely that desiring journals and indexers to fix their systems isn't exactly in your power) Apr 30, 2017 at 14:43
  • Also see: Choosing author name
    – J. Doe
    May 1, 2017 at 8:39
  • Relevant example in my field
    – JeffE
    May 1, 2017 at 10:40
  • If you're in any doubt as to your quasi-pen name being accepted, then make it a habit to explain the connection between the name you use for publishing and the name on your passport in a paragraph in an email early on in the relationship. If in doubt about uniqueness, google your name. If your name is fairly common, then you'll want to have a pseudonym. May 2, 2017 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


In Spain we typically have a very similar situation: two surnames, with the first being considered the most "important" in the sense that if we need to omit one, we omit the second. For example, someone called Juan García González can be called Juan García or Mr. García for short, but never "Juan G. González" as most US-centric systems would abbreviate it.

The typical approaches most researchers take are either signing just Juan García (omitting the second surname), or adding a hyphen (Juan García-González) to fool the American databases into thinking they are a single surname. Typically the first solution is chosen by authors whose first surname is rare, and the second one by those whose first surname is common and who would have ambiguity problems if they used the first approach (e.g. García is extremely common, so there can be dozens of authors called J. García, and therefore signing as García-González is probably a better idea).

Lately, a Spanish governmental science foundation has adopted these approaches as official recommendations, and many universities have followed suit and recommended them to their personnel as well. It's in Spanish, but just in case you are curious or it can help anyone else, here is the recommendation guide describing this: https://www.um.es/documents/793464/2907606/Recomend+Fecyt+DOC051115-1.pdf/0a403f57-253f-4f07-9bdc-762ff5a9a557

Thus, I think you should be safe both as Sobhan Omranian or as Sobhan Omranian-Khorasani, and you can choose between both depending on whether S. Omranian is common or not. I don't think adopting a middle name in your "pen name" would be problematic either, as you can always provide evidence of authorship of your publications if needed. But I would stick to the simpler, tried solutions just in case. If they are considered to work in Spain and even recommended officially, they should work there too.


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