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Initial Reaction

This correspondence is late, but I must comment on the letter of L.E. McNeil on "What's In A Name?" (The Scientist, Jan. 6, 1992, page 12). Dr. McNeil uses her initials rather than her full name on her publications. That is, of course, her choice, but I wonder if that practice contributes to the persistent invisibility of women in science. Limited space dictates the use of initials in reference lists, but as a matter of principle I would prefer to see all authors spell out their first names. Thi

Gretchen Luepke

This correspondence is late, but I must comment on the letter of L.E. McNeil on "What's In A Name?" (The Scientist, Jan. 6, 1992, page 12). Dr. McNeil uses her initials rather than her full name on her publications. That is, of course, her choice, but I wonder if that practice contributes to the persistent invisibility of women in science. Limited space dictates the use of initials in reference lists, but as a matter of principle I would prefer to see all authors spell out their first names. This is common practice in many geological journals.

I must say that using one's first name doesn't absolutely guarantee against a possible "It's a woman!" comment, certainly an annoying experience. I used to get reprint requests (mostly from overseas) addressing me as "Mr." But the spelling out of a woman's first name on her publications would be an immediate way...

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