This post is by Research Services Advisor and Bibliometrician Barbara Lancho Barrantes

Author Disambiguation Defined

When publishing your research it is important to distinguish yourself from authors with similar names. Additional ambiguity is associated with bibliographic databases using different versions of your name.

When two or more researchers share the same name or when a single author has more than one version of their name, publications may be incorrectly allocated. For example, Elizabeth Marie Jones could have the following versions of her name: E.M. Jones | Elizabeth M. Jones | Elizabeth Jones | Elizabeth Marie Jones | E. Jones | Liz Jones

The author’s scientific production is divided and not accurately reflected under a single name.

Disambiguation typically relies on information such as authors’ affiliations, email addresses, years of publication, co-authors, discipline to distinguish between different authors.

Importance of author disambiguation

The difficulty in associating scholarly output with the correct author introduces inaccuracy in bibliometric indicators (number of publications, total citations etc), in the attribution of scientific discoveries and author credit, and discovery -by-author in digital library systems. Users may wish to discover papers written by a particular researcher, institutions might want to track the achievements of their researchers, or funding agencies find an expert in a particular area.

ORCID can help with the challenges of disambiguation. It provides a persistent digital identifier (an ORCID iD) that you own and control, and that distinguishes you from every other researcher.

Find out more about ORCID on the Library website or sign up at

ORCID benefits for researchers

  • distinguish yourself from every other researcher (especially those who share your name!)
  • ensure all your research outputs and activities are correctly attributed to you
  • ensure your contributions and affiliations are reliably and easily connected to you
  • save time when filling out forms (leaving more time for research!)
  • improved discoverability and recognition of your research contribution
  • connect your record to a growing number of institutions, funders, and publishers
  • your ORCID record is yours, for free, forever.

Four ways to add your outputs to your ORCID record

ORCID and Symplectic

Ensure your ORCID is authenticated against your Symplectic account using by clicking through from the instruction on your dashboard:

By default Symplectic will automatically claim any records including your ORCID. You can manage this, or revoke permission, at any time. For more information see ORCID iD quick start guide for Symplectic

Your ORCID will now also appear on your White Rose Repository Online records when you deposit your work.

Note: from Summer 2021 you will also have the option to ‘write’ your affiliation with the University of Leeds and (selected) publication records from Symplectic to your ORCID account. More information coming soon.

Author Name Disambiguation in Bibliographic Databases

Multidisciplinary bibliographic databases such as Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, etc. all provide author profiles with their indexed publications. It is not uncommon for similar named authors from different universities to be incorrectly indexed as a single author.

Check your Scopus profiles

SCOPUS is one of the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature – scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. Delivering a comprehensive overview of the world’s research output in the fields of science, technology, medicine social sciences and arts and humanities, Scopus features smart tools to track, analyse and visualize research.

Library guide: How to use the Scopus database to find research material relevant to your topic.

Search for your author profile in Scopus

Author search:

  • You can search by last name, initials, first name, affiliation, and / or ORCID. From the Author search results page, select your author’s name. The Author details page opens.
  • Review your profile and publications – Do they all belong to you? Are any publication records missing?

Available actions:

  • Set the preferred name
  • Merge profiles
  • Add and remove publication records
  • Update affiliation

If you find more than one profile with your name:

  • Check if they are the same author
  • Double check the publication records
  • Merge profiles as required

More help:

Author Feedback Wizard

How to use the Author Feedback Wizard?


  • you should only make corrections to your own profile or for profiles for which you have permission 
  • publications that are not indexed in Scopus will not be listed in your profile
  • affiliation information is automatically derived from your most recent publication and cannot be altered manualyy
  • you cannot create a Scopus Author Profile by yourself
  • corrections do not update immediately, they will need to be approved by Scopus

Benefits of reviewing your profile

  1. ensure the accurate recognition of your work
  2. emphasise your productivity and research impact
  3. include in applications for grant funding, promotion and tenure 
  4. discovery by potential collaborators
  5. increase your visibility and academic reputation

Using a bibliographic database to increase your visibility

  • discover potential collaborators in your field
  • find suitable venues to publish
  • analyse topics receiving attention in your research area
  • identify the funders in your research area

If you still need more support with this please keep in touch

Email us:

Researcher support webpages

  • Raising research visibility
    • Open access
    • Endnote
    • Bibliometrics
    • Literature searching
    • Research data management


Aksnes, D. W. (2008). When different persons have an identical author name. How frequent are homonyms? Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,59(5), 838–841.

Cornell, L. L. (1982). Duplication of Japanese names: A problem in citations and bibliographies. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,33(2), 102–104.

D’Angelo, C. A., Giuffrida, C., & Abramo, G. (2011). A heuristic approach to author name disambiguation in bibliometrics databases for large-scale research assessments. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,62(2), 257–269.

D’Angelo, C.A., van Eck, N.J. (2020). Collecting large-scale publication data at the level of individual researchers: a practical proposal for author name disambiguation. Scientometrics 123, 883–907

Ferreira, A. A., Gonçalves, M. A., & Laender, A. H. F. (2012). A brief survey of automatic methods for author name disambiguation. ACM SIGMOD Record,41(2), 15–26.

Jinseok Kim, (2018). Evaluating author name disambiguation for digital libraries: a case of DBLP, Scientometrics, 10.1007/s11192-018-2824-5116, 3, (1867-1886), 

Sanyal, D. K., Bhowmick, P. K., & Das, P. P. (2019). A review of author name disambiguation techniques for the PubMed bibliographic database. Journal of Information Science.