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February 2014, Volume 64, Issue 2

Letter to the Editor

Nobel Prize Nomination

Sultan Ayoub Meo  ( Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. )

Madam, I would like to draw your attention about the Nobel Prize nomination. In September each year, the Nobel Prize Committee sends nomination forms to 3000 individuals who nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in various disciplines. From 1901 to 2012, Nobel Prizes were awarded 555 times to 863 people and organizations.1 Certainly, Nobel prizes are very much prestigious and most glorious awards. The number of nominators is limited since the scientific community has been markedly enlarged. Occasionally these prizes are subject to criticism2 with respect to their nomination mechanism. The criticism rose at numerous occasions such as Banting and Macleod were nominated first time and awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1923. In contrast, Robert Koch was nominated 55 times before he received the Prize in 1905, and Ferdinand Sauerbruch, a German surgeon never got the prize despite 54 times nominations.3
As per Nobel Prize Committee, the nominators must be the members of the Nobel Committee at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Nobel Laureates in that specific subject, members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, professors at the faculties of Medicine in Sweden and of similar posts in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.4 Currently, the science community has been markedly enlarged, total number of researchers worldwide is 7.1 million5 and the number of nominators for Nobel prize is 3000, these nominators belong to above limited institutes and countries.
My main concern is that, how do the deserving candidates ask for their nomination to individuals who are authorized to nominate. Why doesn\'t the committee increase the number of nominators and why are they limited from the institutes in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway only. Committee must increase the number of nominators such as senior professors, scientists in that specific subject from chartered universities of any part of the globe. These nominators must be with an excellent research track such as more than 100 research papers in reputable indexed science journals or highly-cited researchers. The names of these nominators with their contact details may be posted on the Nobel Prize website. This mechanism widens the space for those candidates who publish an excellent science but are unknown to the faculty or laureates who nominate them. The bitter truth is that, whenever the criticism appeared on this award, it was directly or indirectly associated to nomination process, hence, committee must minimize such factors otherwise the prize will lose its credibility.


Thankful to the College of Medicine Research Centre and Deanship of Scientific Research, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


1. All Nobel Prizes. (Online) 2013 (Cited 2013 Aug 2). Available from URL:
2. Jan Lindsten. Karolinska Institutet and the History of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. (Online) 2013 (Cited 2013 Aug 2). Available from URL:
3. The Nomination Database for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1901-1951. (Online) 2013 (Cited 2013 Aug 2). Available from URL:
4. Nomination and Selection of Medicine Laureates. (Online) 2013 (Cited 2013 Aug 2). Available from URL:
5. Gardner M. More researchers in developing countries, University World News, 2010 Feb 21.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: