Misha Kidambi Narayanan had to spell out his name, tion), it would appear that two authors, it would be Rasipuram (village name) C V Raman and R V Chandrasekhara, In the English-language naming conven- Krishnaswami (father’s name) Ayyar (caste have written the papers. Confusion also tion, a given (“first”) name, a surname title) Narayanan (given name). occurs if an author who has always used the (family name), and sometimes a middle To conform to the English-language father’s given name instead of the surname name are used. That system, however, naming convention, the following formats suddenly starts using the caste title or vil- is not inherent to many cultures where have been used: lage name as the surname. To avoid prob- English is not the first language. Naming lems in indexing journal articles correctly conventions used in some parts of India, • Many Indians in the south use caste by author names and with attribution, for example, follow different systems. titles (Iyer, Aiyengar, Rao, and so on) as authors should use a consistent format to Recognizing the difference and taking a their surnames. write their names. sound editorial approach to it can help • Some others use the father’s given name in appropriate attribution , citation, and (or the husband’s given name, in the case Editorial Policies indexing of the many English-language of married women) in place of the sur- It appears that few (if any) style guides and scientific papers by authors with Indian name. In such cases, a father and son (or journal instructions specify how to write names. daughter) will have different surnames; or use complex Indian names. And the for example, if Ramanujam Murthy has a journal editors interviewed allow Indian Effect of the Colonial Past son named Ganesh, Ganesh Ramanujam authors to follow the conventions of their In many parts of India, there original- would be the son’s complete name. choice. Alexis Mogul, production editor of ly was no concept of using surnames as • A few use the ancestral village name as PLoS Biology, says, “PLoS style for Indian understood in the Western world. Under the surname. names is generally to follow the author. We British colonial rule, however, Indians recognize that there are some complicated were expected to follow a naming system Points That Cause Confusion naming conventions, but we do not have a that corresponded with the British naming When asked to supply one or two initials house style for nontraditional names, so we convention. People in different regions of and the surname, authors with names in just trust authors to put their names how India responded differently to the require- the English-language format provide the they want them.” That policy can result ment. Indians in the northern, western, initials of the given and sometimes the in inconsistent formats (spelled-out given and eastern regions seemed to adapt more middle names and spell out the surname. names of some authors and spelled-out easily to the new convention. For example, For example, Roger William Smith will surnames of others) in the same reference the physicist Satyendra Nath Bose (as in provide R W Smith. However, many south- list. For example, a reference list in the Bose-Einstein condensate) had Satyendra ern Indian authors who use the father’s Journal of Investigative Dermatology includes as his given name, Nath as his middle given name as a surname spell out their “Sudha PM, Low S, Kwang J & Gong ZY”, name, and Bose (a common Bengali sur- own given name and use the initials of the in which Sudha is the given name of the name) as his surname. father’s given name. Thus, Chandrasekhara author, but the other spelled-out names Indians in the southern region found (father’s name) Venkata (father’s middle are surnames. the modification more difficult because name) Raman (given name) is the spelled- Another journal that prefers using names their original naming system was com- out name of physicist C V Raman (who as given by the authors is The Lancet plex. A complete, spelled-out southern was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work Oncology. David Collingridge, editor of Indian name typically contains the name on scattering of light). The point to bear this journal, says, “The Lancet Oncology of the native (or ancestral) village, the in mind is that Raman is the given name, orders Indian names (and those of other father’s name, the given name, and occa- not the surname. nationalities) in the order supplied by the sionally the caste title. For example, if If C V Raman wrote one paper using author(s). We feel this the best way of the well-known English fiction writer RK the author name C V Raman (in keeping ensuring published names are [consistent] with the practice of using the initials of with the authors’ expectations (and in MISHA KIDAMBI, a graduate student in science the father’s given name and middle name) turn correct culturally).” and technology journalism at Texas A&M and another paper using the name Raman University, prepared this article while a Science Venkata Chandrasekhara (in trying to keep Editor intern. with the English-language naming conven-
120 • Science Editor • July – August 2008 • Vol 31 • No 4 Features Indian names continued
Guidelines to Avoid Confusion they use a consistent format for their format. If unsure, spell out the complete Following a few simple steps will go a long names in all the materials submitted for name. way in helping authors, editors, and other publication. authors citing works of authors with Indian • For those citing Indian authors: Spell out Bibliography names. whichever name the author spells out. 1. Jayaraman R. Personal identity in a globalized There is no need to determine whether world: cultural roots of Hindu personal names and • For authors: Be consistent. Always list it is a given name or surname. If an surnames. Popular Culture 2005;38(3):476-490. your name in the same way. Editors and author spells out more than one name, 2. Ramana MV. South Indian names. Nature (cor- other authors can then avoid problems try to see how the author has cited him- respondence) 1983;301(5901):560. in attributing, citing, and indexing. self or herself. If in doubt, contact the • For editors: Whether or not authors (in author. India and elsewhere) follow the English- • For correspondence: When correspond- language naming convention, insist that ing with an author, follow the author’s
More Available on International Names; More Also Sought
To guide editors and others in using authors’ names, Science Editor has published articles on non-English personal names of a variety of national origins. For articles on Chinese, Arabic, and Korean names and on names from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, please see www.CouncilScienceEditors.org/publica- tions/names.cfm.
Science Editor hopes to publish articles on additional groups of international names. If you are willing to write such an article, please contact Barbara Gastel, editor, Science Editor, at [email protected]. Inquiries will be gratefully received.
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