Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is one of 17 U.S. national laboratories entering a partnership with prominent publishers, journals and other organizations in scientific publishing to support name-change requests from researchers on past published papers.
This agreement will allow researchers who wish to change their names to claim ownership more easily of work from all stages of their careers; it specifically addresses the administrative and emotional difficulties some transgender researchers have experienced when requesting name changes associated with past academic work.
“The importance of identity is a foundational element of any individual,” said Tony Baylis, director of LLNL’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs. “It provides a perspective of who you are and how others view you. This name change initiative supports researchers and scientists who want to ensure their publications and research represents them in way that contributes to their identity and well-being. LLNL is a proud collaborator along with our 16 other national laboratories and the 13 publishers who have partnered to support this effort, our LGBQT+ community and anyone else that wants to change their name in publications. This initiative demonstrates one example of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at LLNL.”
Previously, individual researchers shouldered the burden, administratively and emotionally, of initiating name change requests with each publisher of their past papers. Many publishers have been independently updating their own policies to address an increasing number of name-change requests.
This partnership streamlines these previously ad hoc processes and offers an official validation mechanism to all involved by enabling researchers to ask their respective institutions to pursue name changes on their behalf directly with the publishers and journals.
For researchers of all genders, and transgender researchers specifically, the new process ensures they can rightfully claim ownership of prior work without fear of reprisal under their lived name and be known in their respective fields primarily through their merits as published authors.
As several researchers have attested, having their names updated on previous publications allows them to best represent their full suite of accomplishments. The ability to claim the volume of their work over time has significant implications for maintaining prominence in their area of research and for receiving credit for their academic impact.
“As a trans scientist, having publications under my birth name causes me to have mixed feelings about past work of which I'm otherwise proud,” said Amalie Trewartha, research scientist, Toyota Research Institute and materials science research affiliate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). “I am faced with the dilemma of either hiding certain parts of it or outing myself. 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.”
The partnership between the national laboratories, major scientific publishers, journals and other organizations represents a commitment to creating a more inclusive culture in STEM fields and STEM publishing in particular. The participating national laboratories will facilitate requests for name changes for any reason, including religious, marital or other purposes, where supported by the policies in place at publishing partners.
“We are proud to participate in this unique partnership between national laboratories and scientific publishers, showing support for our transgender and non-binary colleagues," said Lily Forest, technical editor and a leader for the LLNL Pride employee resource group. “We hope that simplifying the name change process also will set a precedent for those who want to change their names for other reasons. The LLNL Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office and the Pride employee resource group enthusiastically support this initiative and hope to encourage more organizations to join us.”
The 17 national laboratories across the United States are pursuing this work in alignment with their respective diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, not as a result of any federal policy changes, and welcome new partners as the effort advances. LBNL is coordinating the effort.
LIST OF PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS:
Publishing organizations & services
American Chemical Society
American Physical Society
American Society for Microbiology
Royal Society of Chemistry
Ames National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
National Energy Technology Laboratory
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Sandia National Laboratories
Savannah River National Laboratory
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
martin59 [at] llnl.gov