As part of broader inclusivity campaigns, the labs aim to relieve some burdens faced by transgender authors or others whose names have changed over their professions.
America’s 17 national laboratories teamed up with leading scientific publishers, journals and other organizations in a new initiative to make it easier for researchers to update their past publications to accurately reflect changes to their names over the course of their careers.
This collaboration does not stem from federal policy changes but marks one way the labs are working in alignment as they embark on respective diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is coordinating the new partnership.
“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,” lab officials explained last week.
More entities can join this effort. For those involved, it represents intent to advance inclusivity in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields and publishing, according to the announcement. Prior to this move, researchers would typically face long and time-consuming processes to complete name-change requests. As more requests have flowed in over recent years, some publishers have started to independently update their own policies.
Going forward, “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 our publishing partners,” officials noted. They ultimately intend to help simplify and streamline a once ad-hoc means into a more accessible and official validation mechanism.
“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. I am faced with the dilemma of either hiding certain parts of it, or outing myself,” Amalie Trewartha, a research scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Toyota Research Institute and Materials Science Research Affiliate, 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.”