Name Change Policy at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

This lunchtime I took a bit of time out to complete a task that has been on my to-do list for some time. It has been announced in a blog post at the Open Journal of Astrophysics.

The recent announcement by arXiv of a name change policy has enabled the Open Journal of Astrophysics to introduce a policy of its own concerning author name changes. The aim of such a policy is to reduce barriers to changing public records and online identity, thereby fostering diversity and promoting inclusivity. The changes announced follow recommendations by the Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE).

Since the Open Journal of Astrophysics is an arXiv overlay journal which is totally dependent on the arXiv platform we had to wait until arXiv announced its policy before following it with one of our own, which were recently able to do.

The arXiv now allows the following options:

  1. In full text works: the author name can be changed in the PDF and/or LaTeX source where it appears in the author list, acknowledgments, and email address.
  2. In metadata: the name and email address can be changed in the author list metadata and in the submission history metadata for all existing versions.
  3. In user accounts: the name, username, and email address can all be changed.

The arXiv policy notes, however, that

We are not currently able to support name changes in references and citations of works. Also, arXiv cannot make changes to other services, including third party search and discovery tools that may display author lists for papers on arXiv.

Since the Open Journal of Astrophysics deposits author metadata for all our papers with the Crossref system we can plug this gap by undertaking to redeposit all necessary information to reflect author name changes. Since author metadata is attached to the DOI we issue, this will ensure that citations and references tracked through this system are updated when an author changes their name.

If any author of a paper published in the Open Journal of Astrophysics wishes to make use of this policy the best procedure is to first contact the arXiv under their policy. Once any changes have been made to the arXiv submission the author should contact us with a request. We will then make any necessary changes to the overlay on the Open Journal of Astrophysics site and redeposit amended metadata to Crossref free of charge. We also undertake to ensure entries are updated at the NASA/ADS system.

Following the guidance from COPE the Open Journal of Astrophysics will neither seek permission from nor inform co-authors of any such change.

A list of other journals/publishers and their name change policies can be found here.

3 Responses to “Name Change Policy at the Open Journal of Astrophysics”

  1. I have changed my name once, but at that time had only one conference contribution. When I married for the second time, I kept my first wife’s last name, and my children with my second wife have it as well (and even my second wife as part of a double name, though she could have just my first wife’s name if she wanted). One of many reasons was to have all of my publications under the same name. Note that Merkel is the last name of Angela’s first husband even thought she is now married again (but she has no children of her own at all).

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to require an ORCID and pull the information from that on the fly?

    However well meaning the intentions, I doubt that people will be updating their hand-written BibTeX files, and what will probably happen is that bibliometry will become even more confusing for the small minority of people affected.

    I dare say that there are more obvious things arXiv could do were they really interested in inclusivity. 🙂

    • telescoper Says:

      Citations will be updated by chancing the author metadata associated with a paper at Crossref. It doesn’t require authors of citing papers to change their BibTex files.

  2. All the same, probably less of a challenge than changing all eponymous bird names.

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