My name has changed, but the DOI record still shows my old name

A relatively rare, but very important, type of metadata quality improvement concerns author name changes. Occasionally, authors contact us because their name has changed, and they need their current name reflected in their publication’s metadata record, rather than their prior name.

Publishers often have explicit policies regarding author name changes. For example, here are the policies from Springer, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Brill, IEEE, and IOP, just to name a few.

Typically, by the time an author contacts us about updating their name in their publication’s Crossref metadata record, they have already contacted the publisher and had their name updated on the publication itself as well as on the publisher’s website or hosting platform. In most cases, this will automatically prompt the publisher to resubmit updated metadata for that publication to Crossref, but sometimes that step is accidentally overlooked.

Like all other metadata, Crossref can’t update author names directly* so we do have to act as a go-between and give the publisher a nudge. Publishers vary a lot from one to the next in how responsive they are to metadata change requests. We’re always grateful when the needed changes get taken care of quickly and easily.

This is one such situation:

An author, @RobinIsadorable, contacted us with the following request

Hello! I would like to update the metadata associated with several publications I’ve authored (list below; updated JSON files attached). The only information that is updated is my legal name (previously “[REDACTED]”, now “Robin Isadora”), which can be verified on my ORCiD page (ORCID) . Thank you for your help!

https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.154337
https://doi.org/10.1172/jci121361

Both of those DOIs were registered by, and under the continuing stewardship of, the same publisher, American Society for Clinical Investigation. So, I reached out to our metadata quality contact there with a request to update the author’s name in both items’ metadata records.

Hello,

An author of two articles published by American Society for Clinical Investigation contacted us to request that her name be changed/corrected in the articles’ DOI metadata.

This was her message:

[copy of the message above]

I can see that this author’s name has already been corrected on the landing pages for 10.1172/jci121361 and 10.1172/jci.insight.154337 as you can see here
https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/154337
and here
https://www.jci.org/articles/view/121361

Whenever an update like that is made to the articles on your site, you will also need to send an updated metadata deposit for the DOIs to Crossref.

Could you please submit updated metadata for 10.1172/jci121361 and 10.1172/jci.insight.154337 now, to correct that author’s name?

In the XML that you submit, that will look like a change from this:

<person_name sequence="additional" contributor_role="author">
<given_name>[REDACTED]</given_name>
<surname>Brown</surname>
<ORCID>http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1398-5721</ORCID>
</person_name>

to this:

<person_name sequence="additional" contributor_role="author">
<given_name>Robin Isadora</given_name>
<surname>Brown</surname>
<ORCID>http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1398-5721</ORCID>
</person_name>

Please let me know if you have any questions.

And, fortunately, our contact at American Society for Clinical Investigation replied the next day confirming the change was made, and letting us know that they’ll make sure metadata updates are part of their usual process when author name changes come up again in the future. That’s the best outcome we could possibly expect!

If you’re an author whose name has changed, as a first step you should contact the item’s publisher. Ideally reach out to their author services department, if they have one. And if you encounter any problems communicating with the publisher, COPE has some relevant guidance on author name changes after publication.

*the one exception to this rule is if the publisher is no longer active, or no longer a member of Crossref.

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