Policy to Support Name Changes on Prior Publications
ACS Publications recognizes that authors may change their names for many reasons, including - but not limited to – gender identity, marriage, divorce, or religious conversion. We respect that there may be sensitivities surrounding name changes and wish to reduce or remove any barriers to inclusion, professional mobility, and author credit.
To support authors’ rights in this regard, we offer authors two options to update their name on prior publications:
Option 1: Update (replace) name on prior publications
This option provides authors with a path to update their name on the HTML and PDF versions of prior ACS publications for which they were an author/coauthor. Updates can be made to first, middle, and last names, initials, and salutations, as well as other references to the author throughout the paper such as pronouns, captions, acknowledgements, photos in which the author appears, and email addresses that contain names/initials.
Authors who submit an updated name request will not be asked to disclose the reason for the request, nor will any proof or documentation of name change be required. Coauthors and editors of prior publications will not be notified of name updates, nor will any notice be posted on the updated publications.
It is important to note that ACS Publications cannot control the use or appearance of an author’s name on non-ACS products or content (such as external indexing services and archives). Changes made to prior ACS publications may not propagate to downstream environments. Additional information about the scope and limitations of this option can be found in our FAQs below.
An author who wishes to update their name on prior publications may do so by following the instructions below:
Note that in order to initiate the name change request, we require an ORCID iD and ACS Paragon Plus account. If you do not currently have an ORCID iD, you can create one here. If you don’t currently have an ACS Paragon Plus account, you can create one here:
STEP 1: Ensure that the name and ORCID iD listed in your ACS Paragon Plus account has been updated. You can update your ACS Paragon Plus account by visiting https://acsparagonplus.acs.org/ and logging in with your ACS ID. Once logged in, your name and ORCID iD can be updated under the “Edit your Profile” link. If you’re unable to update your ACS Paragon Plus account, please notify us when you submit your request form (Step 2) and our Customer Service team will assist you.
Note: We allow for approved institutional proxies to submit requests on behalf of an author, if part of an institution’s name change policy. To ensure these requests are properly processed, the author must complete Step 1. The request form (signed by the proxy) must be sent from a valid institutional email address, and the author must be copied on the email.
Though not required, we also encourage you to update your name and contact information in the following ACS environments. Doing so helps ensure we address you appropriately in all future communications related to these products. If you need assistance updating these accounts, please let us know when you submit your request form.
- ACS Authoring Services (https://authoringservices.acs.org/) – visit “Account” after login
Option 2: Publish linked correction to prior publication
Alternatively, authors may choose to publish a linked correction to associate a different name with prior ACS publications. This path requires submission of an Addition/Correction to the journal in which the original publication appeared. Publication of a linked correction requires approval from the coauthors of the original publication. In most cases, publishing a linked correction ensures the author’s work is discoverable under both/all names in downstream indexing and archival environments.
Authors who wish to publish a linked correction may do so by following the instructions posted in the respective journal’s author guidelines.
What elements of a prior publication can be updated under this policy?
- Names (including first, middle, last, and/or initials)
- Pronouns, salutations, initials and/or shorthand references to the author in the body of the manuscript (including captions, acknowledgments, dedications, biographies, and author notes)
- Email addresses (when the email address reflects the author’s name)
- Photos where the author appears individually or in a group setting (in the body of the manuscript or Supporting Information and when the individual is identifiable)
What updates cannot be made under this policy?
- Requests to add/remove initials for the purpose of standardizing name presentation across multiple publications when not related to an identity change
- Requests to update email addresses on prior publications when unrelated to name presentation
- Changes to scientific content, minor adjustments to text, corrections beyond those indicated by name change
- Requests for affiliation changes to prior publications
- Changes to author names in books published by ACS
- Posthumous changes
- Use of symbols or characters outside of ACS Publications’ standard publishing character set, which is based on the Latin alphabet
- Modification or replacement of photo(s) unrelated to identity change
The following updates are also out of scope for the current version of our policy, but we are actively working to find solutions to each of these issues:
- ACS Meeting Abstracts
- Other ACS web properties (such as blog posts)
- Web content outside of ACS Journals
- Citations; due to the complexity of citation networks, we expect to partner with other publishers and third party tools to find a comprehensive solution that will support citation corrections across the literature, not just on the web version of ACS publications.
We are also aware that some publications do not update as intended in the ACS Publishing Center. In these cases, the prior name is only visible to the author who has logged into the ACS Publishing Center, and the correct name will appear publicly on the article. We are actively working on a solution to this issue.
Should I use the form on this page to report a misspelling of my name or correct the inconsistent presentation of initials in my prior publications?
This policy and request form are intended to facilitate the process of changing a name on published ACS works in conjunction with life events. You may contact Customer Services and Information directly to report misspellings or other errors at firstname.lastname@example.org; the Name Change request form is not required for these cases. ACS does not support the addition or removal of initials for purposes of consistent presentation across publications alone, only as part of a name change request.
Will my publications appear in search results on ACS’ website if someone searches for my prior (previously published under) name?
No. In order to support name change anonymity, prior name searching has not been enabled on ACS’ website. We are exploring the feasibility of offering prior name searching to authors in the future, which, when an author opts in, would enable searches using an author’s prior name even if that name no longer appears in the published article.
As the scope of this policy does not currently cover citation changes, a previously published name could appear when using a non-ACS search engine.
When will changes made to ACS publications be reflected in other non-ACS databases, search indexes, etc.?
ACS can address in-house databases, such as Publications indexes, CAS SciFinder, and ACS Membership, and we are also working with other organizations to communicate name changes. However, at this time, we cannot anticipate timeframes for processing by other organizations and cannot guarantee changes in non-ACS products and services. We have observed during testing that many cross-referencing databases automatically update their sites when metadata (e.g., author name) is corrected in a timely manner.
Will my ACS Membership account be updated to reflect my updated name?
We will share your request with ACS Membership so they can adjust your name in our membership database. If you require changes to your ACS ID also, please make sure to indicate that when you submit your request. For any further questions about ACS Membership accounts, please contact email@example.com.
Will I be required to provide any proof or documentation of my name change?
No documentation is required to prove the author’s change in name; however, authors requesting a name change must complete and sign a request form to initiate the process. Request forms will be treated as confidential, and only used to fulfill name change requests.
Will the co-authors of a previously published paper be notified of a name change?
No. The name change request and article update will be kept confidential and not shared with any outside parties by ACS. The name change will not be considered a correction, therefore a correction outlining the name change will not be published.
Are photos in a prior publication able to be updated?
Yes. We recognize that authors may wish to update or modify photos in published articles to reflect a change in identity. ACS will communicate with you to discuss which options are available. Only photos within the body or Supporting Information of prior publications authored by the individual are able to be addressed under this policy.
Are there any limits as to how long after original publication you are able to accommodate name changes?
ACS has not established any date before which we will not consider changes. Due to the evolution of publication systems over time, we will have to work through technical situations for older content as they arise, but we are committed to making the changes as efficiently as possible.
How long will it take for the change to be effective?
The expected time to make name changes depends on factors including number of documents affected, age of documents affected, and challenges that we need to troubleshoot and solve associated with the process. ACS is dedicated to working closely with authors to communicate expectations and updates.
Can my institution submit a request on my behalf?
Yes. We support researchers’ right to ask their respective institutions to pursue name changes on their behalf directly with publishers as part of an institution’s name change policy. Provided that the institutional representative has been approved to act on the author’s behalf, the requestor should complete and sign the same request form, send from a valid institutional email address, and copy the author on the email request. We ask that the author is available for communication throughout the process if any questions or issues arise. Note: Step 1 above must be completed by the author before the form can be processed.