Unambiguous cell line authentication is essential to avoid loss of association between data and cells. The risk for loss of references increases with the rapidity that new human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) lines are generated, exchanged, and implemented. Ideally, a single name should be used as a generally applied reference for each cell line to access and unify cell-related information across publications, cell banks, cell registries, and databases and to ensure scientific reproducibility. We discuss the needs and requirements for such a unique identifier and implement a standard nomenclature for hPSCs, which can be automatically generated and registered by the human pluripotent stem cell registry (hPSCreg). To avoid ambiguities in PSC-line referencing, we strongly urge publishers to demand registration and use of the standard name when publishing research based on hPSC lines. In this article Kurtz, Seltmann and colleagues propose a standard nomenclature and registry for human pluripotent stem cells. The nomenclature is based on fixed name elements and provides a unique identifier for PSC lines suitable for referencing over diverse data sources, registries, publications, and cell banks. Rigorous application is needed to reduce risks from misidentification and false referencing of lines and data.