Thirty institutions — including all 17 national US national laboratories and 13 prominent publishers, journals and organizations — have partnered to support transgender researchers who want to change their names on past published papers.
The effort, announced Wednesday, addresses “administrative and emotional difficulties that some transgender researchers have experienced when requesting name changes associated with past academic work,” according to a statement from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is coordinating the initiative.
In the past, individual researchers who have wanted their name changed on published works have been responsible for initiating name change requests with each publisher. With this new effort, researchers can ask their respective institutions to pursue name changes directly with the journals and publishers on their behalf.
This partnership streamlines “previously ad hoc processes and offers an official validation mechanism to all involved,” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says.
“This change eliminates an enormous burden on researchers, emotionally and administratively, to correct the record,” said Lady Idos, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Our partnership on this is a continuation of the efforts that many national labs have initiated to create a more welcoming and inclusive work environment for trans researchers.”
Amalie Trewartha, a trans research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said published work listed under her birth name causes her to have mixed feelings about work she is otherwise proud of.
“I am faced with the dilemma of either hiding certain parts of it, or outing myself,” Trewartha said. “Having my name updated on my previous publications would be enormously meaningful. It would allow me to make a first impression on my peers primarily through my merits as a scientist and it would allow me to unreservedly embrace and be proud of research from all stages of my career.”
A person’s ability to claim their work over time has significant implications for maintaining prominence in their area of research, the initiative’s backers note. Through the new partnership, participating national laboratories will facilitate name change requests for any reason, including religious or marital, where supported by policies in place at publishing partners.
The publishing organizations and societies taking part in the initiative include the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, American Society for Microbiology, arXiv, Clarivate, eLife, Elsevier, Hindawi, Royal Society of Chemistry, protocols.io, Scopus, Springer Nature and Wiley.