Physical Review Journals Announce Inclusive Name-Change Policy

New initiative allows authors to change their previously published names for any reason

COLLEGE PARK, MD, September, 15, 2021 — The American Physical Society (APS) today released the details of its name-change policy for the Physical Review journals. The policy is intended to make the world’s leading physics journals more inclusive and ensure authors retain ownership of prior work published under a different name.

“Inclusive and respectful language is essential for effective communication between scientists,” said APS Editor-in-Chief Michael Thoennessen. “The name-change policy builds on our previous efforts—such as the use of preferred pronouns and the promotion of gender-neutral language—to welcome authors of all backgrounds and identities to publish with APS.”

The announcement comes as the global scientific community prepares to explore the role of identity in scholarly communication as part of Peer Review Week, September 20–24, 2021.

In its 2016 report on the LGBT Climate in Physics, the APS Ad-Hoc Committee on LGBT Issues urged APS to systematically address name changes in its journals “so that transgender physicists who change their names will have their full publication records visible and, at the same time, will not be outed by their publication record.” Accordingly, the name-change policy announced today allows authors to change their names on published papers without an accompanying correction.

“The silent name change is tremendously important,” said APS Executive Editor Jessica Thomas. “It allows authors to correct the scientific record while maintaining their right to privacy and protecting them from potential retaliation. More broadly, the name-change policy enables authors’ lived names to be reflected on their full body of academic work.”

While the policy is designed to address the needs of transgender researchers in particular, authors may change their names for any reason (for example, a change in marital status) on papers published in any Physical Review journal since 2000. Please visit this page for full details and answers to frequently asked questions about the policy.

APS is working in partnership with the 17 US national laboratories to facilitate name changes on behalf of their scientists.

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