The Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has announced a new policy that will allow authors to update the name used on their prior ACS publications. Beginning in October, authors who have changed their name for any reason, including (but not limited to) gender transition, marriage, divorce or religious conversion, will be able to request that articles published under a previously used name are updated to reflect their new name.
In order to protect authors’ privacy, changes will be made without requiring authors to provide proof or documentation of their name change, and editors and co-authors of prior publications will not be notified of the update. As changing one’s name is a deeply personal decision that an individual might not wish to disclose to a large audience, the update will not be considered a correction to prior publications; therefore, no notice of the name change will be posted on the article. The policy will also ensure all other references to the author’s identity, including pronouns, salutations, captions and other elements of the paper, are updated appropriately.
This change was developed in response to a call from the community of transgender researchers. Irving Rettig, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate at Portland State University and transgender rights in STEM activist, worked closely with ACS to develop this policy and convene other trans and nonbinary scientists to support this change.
As with any progressive new policy, ACS anticipates that there may be some nuances or fine details to resolve, and is committed to working with every author who requests a name change. ACS will also continue to adapt this policy to the needs of the community, and as a second phase, is pledging to work toward a procedure to update author names in citations.
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