Idaho National Laboratory: Scientific publishing organizations, national laboratories partner on transgender-inclusive name-change process for published papers

U.S. national laboratories and many prominent publishers, journals and other organizations in scientific publishing announced today the beginning of a partnership to support name change requests from researchers on past published papers.

“As INL’s chief research officer, I am proud to support the work that’s being done, so that each person can show up in their publications as their authentic self. I’m very pleased INL is on the forefront of this effort,” said Marianne Walck, chief research officer and deputy laboratory director for Science and Technology.

This agreement will allow researchers who wish to change their names to more easily claim work from all stages of their careers; it specifically addresses the administrative and emotional difficulties some transgender researchers have experienced when requesting name changes associated with past academic work.

“Being able to change your name for any reason, whether affirming one’s gender, for religious reasons, or following marriage or divorce, is valuable no matter who you are. It’s not just a benefit for transgender researchers, but all people, and a great step toward inclusion,” said Theron McGriff, INL Performance Management department manager and co-president of Prism, an INL leadership council designed to promote an LGBTQ+ inclusive workspace.

Previously, individual researchers shouldered the burden, administratively and emotionally, of initiating name change requests with each publisher of their past papers. Many publishers have been independently updating their own policies to address an increasing number of name change requests.

This partnership streamlines these previously ad hoc processes and offers an official validation mechanism to all involved by enabling researchers to ask their respective institutions to pursue name changes on their behalf directly with the publishers and journals.

For researchers of all genders, and transgender researchers specifically, the new process ensures they can rightfully claim ownership of prior work without fear of reprisal under their lived name and be known in their respective fields primarily through their merits as published authors.

“Simplifying the name change process in a way that prioritizes privacy, safety and security will allow for researchers’ professional accomplishments to match who they are. Partnering with other national labs and publishers on a policy change that promotes personal equity will have a positive impact on the research community as a whole,” said Allison Ray, INL’s research excellence officer.

As several researchers have attested, having their names updated on previous publications allows them to best represent their full suite of accomplishments. The ability to claim the volume of their work over time has significant implications for maintaining prominence in their area of research and for receiving credit for their academic impact.

The partnership between the national laboratories, major scientific publishers, journals and other organizations represents a commitment to creating a more inclusive culture in STEM fields and STEM publishing in particular. The participating national laboratories will facilitate requests for name changes for any reason, including religious, marital or other purposes, where supported by the policies in place at publishing partners.

Participating national laboratories across the United States are pursuing this work in alignment with their respective diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, not as a result of any federal policy changes, and they welcome new partners as the effort advances. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is coordinating the effort.

Comments are closed.