Nature 453, 450 (22 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/453450a; Published online 21 May 2008

Name variations can hit citation rankings

Biji T. Kurien1

  1. Arthritis and Immunology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, USA


The Correspondence 'Give south Indian authors their true names' (Nature 452, 530; 2008) and earlier News Feature 'Identity crisis' (Nature 451, 766–767; 2008) are highly relevant to calculations of PubMed citations and h-index (the number n of a researcher's papers that have received at least n citations).

For example, I used to use the south Indian form of my name: T. Biji Kurien, with Biji being my personal name. I have seven publications cited incorrectly in PubMed as being by 'Kurien, T. B.', 'Bijikurien, T.' or 'Kurien, B.'. Four of these entries were cited often enough to be counted towards my h-index computation. As I had by then changed my name to conform with Western style, these publications unfortunately do not appear in the Web of Science or PubMed under my current name format. Consequently, my h-index ranking has fallen by 25%.

It is of paramount importance to adhere to a consistent name pattern right from the start, in order to maintain a correct list of publications in the public databases as well as the right h-index rankings.

Readers are welcome to comment at the Nature India blog Indigenus,

See also
Names: dropped to avoid prejudice, now useful again