Inclusive author name-change policy
Throughout their career many researchers have a need to change their name as it appears on published work for several reasons, from a change in marital status, to a need by transgender authors to change their first name to affirm their gender, to cultural name changes, to errors in submission of names, or any other reason. With the author name change policy, created by EGU in collaboration with Copernicus Publications and guidance from the EGU's Publications Committee, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Early Career Scientist Committee, EGU aims to promote an increasingly inclusive publishing policy across all our official platforms, reflecting the lived experience of our members and authors. This new policy will allow authors to retrospectively update previous publications with their current names, including conference abstracts, preprints and peer-reviewed articles.
To make this change in previously peer-reviewed and published articles, Copernicus Publications has identified three variations of name-change procedure that will be adopted, based on what kind of name change the author requires, regardless of their reason for changing their name.
- Author requests first name change, (cited) last name remains the same.
- Author requests (cited) last name change, first name remains the same.
- Author requests (cited) last name change, first name also changes or is removed.
When a name-change request is made, Copernicus Publications can provide the option for the name to be changed for all records held in the journal or preprint repository (preprint, journal article PDF, and journal article full-text HTML and XML), and shared with reference libraries. Copernicus will then re-send the article metadata to abstracting and indexing services such as Scopus, Clarivate Analytics, and Google Scholar, although we are not able to enforce replacement of the metadata on their platforms and these changes can sometimes take months to implement after we make the request. In-text citations and references in publications by other authors cannot, at present, be adjusted. EGU and Copernicus Publications also cannot control the use or appearance of an author's prior name in material held by other publishers, in print, or in non-EGU/Copernicus archives or collections.
Once a name change has been requested, in whatever format, the author will select the degree of linking of their former and current names.
- Complete linking of former and current names: the authors name will be changed retrospectively in the publications, an affiliation code (and information icon) will be added to the publication identifying the link to the former identity and the two names will be linked in the author's Copernicus account so that regardless of the name searched, all publications by that person will be discoverable in searches.
- Partial linking of former and current names: the authors name will be changed in the publications and the two names will be linked by the author's Copernicus ID, ensuring that regardless of the name searched all publications published by that person will be discoverable in searches. No note will be added to the publications highlighting the change; this option will make linking the past and present names less prominent, as the names will not appear simultaneously in any publications.
- Technical linking of former and current names: the two names will be linked by Copernicus so that regardless of the name searched all publications published by that person will be discoverable in searches. The name will not be changed on the publication and no note will be added to the publication highlighting the change; this option ensures a clearer separation between the former and current published names.
- No link between former and current names: in this case the author will be encouraged to create a new author account in the Copernicus system with their current name. However, it should be noted that in future this account can be merged with the former one, if the individual requests a different degree of linking at a later date.
A full linking of former and current names, where the former name is replaced in the publication record, the two names are linked in searches, and all in-text citations and references in other publications managed by Copernicus are also changed, is not possible for us to achieve at present, though EGU and Copernicus Publications will continue to investigate new solutions for the future.
With the format described above EGU and Copernicus Publications want to make the degree of connection between the former and current names completely the choice of the author requesting the change. Each level comes with a different degree of connection between previous published work with the former name and new published work with the current name, that the author would have to consider before making their choice.
To make a name-change request, authors must contact Copernicus Publications to indicate their desire to change their name and provide evidence in the form of an update to their ORCID record or Copernicus Account (both of which can be done by the individual without third-party permission). As it is important to protect the privacy of our authors, a notification of the change of name will not be sent to anyone except the author who requested the change, though we recommend that the requesting author inform their co-authors at their own discretion. Any questions about the EGU-Copernicus name change policy should also contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recognize scientific societies and publishers have a great deal of work still to do to dismantle historical biases and ensure greater inclusivity and representation. We encourage our membership to contact us with any queries or concerns about this change, including to identify any ways we can improve this policy, which will continue to evolve to better reflect the needs of our members and authors into the future.