eLife Latest: New policy allows for name changes in published papers

eLife has announced a policy which enables authors, editors and reviewers to retroactively change their name in published papers and accompanying decision letters.
A rainbow umbrella. Image credit: Public domain (CC0)

People change their names for many reasons – for example, after getting married or divorced, after changing their religion, or following a transition to their true gender identity. Yet, historically, there has been no straightforward way for someone to correct their name on their past publications. This has not only hindered some authors in receiving correct recognition for their publication records. This shortcoming has also put researchers’, and in particular transgender researchers’, wellbeing and safety at risk.

With a new policy, we now provide a fair and unobtrusive workflow for name changes within articles in eLife. This policy is open to eLife authors, as well as editors and reviewers who are named in the decision letters that accompany eLife papers.

Our name-change policy has been influenced by the policy recently announced by F1000 Research and uses the same workflow. The original policy was developed in collaboration with Wellcome and EDIS, and in consultation with trans researchers to ensure that it fitted their needs.

As in F1000 Research’s workflow, the eLife editorial office will first work with the researcher to verify that they are requesting the name change for themselves. To make this process as unobtrusive as possible, the researcher will be enabled to verify their identity on their own terms and will not be required to provide any ‘official’ documents. The articles will then be updated online to reflect the correct name; in each case, without requiring a formal correction, and with the DOI unchanged. Finally, eLife’s production team will resupply information to external databases and repositories such as PubMed, PubMed Central and Crossref to update their records of the articles.

Stuart King, Research Culture Manager at eLife, says “Reforming research communication depends on changing research culture, and we want that culture to have diversity and inclusion at its heart. eLife is committed to working with and learning from others to help make publishing an inclusive space. We're grateful for F1000 Research’s transparency around their policy; it meant we could speed up the introduction of our own.”

How to use the policy:

Further details of our policy and instructions on how to make use of it can be found in our Journal Policies section, under “Name-change policy”.


We welcome comments or questions from researchers as well as other publishers. Please contact Stuart King, Research Culture Manager, at s.king@elifesciences.org. Comments can also be added publicly to this article, while anonymous feedback may be shared via this form.


For the latest updates on editorial policy and other news from eLife, sign up to receive our bi-monthly newsletter. You can also follow @eLife on Twitter.