Changes in the Nobel Committee’s procedures


After two years with a temporarily expanded Nobel Committee the Swedish Academy is refining the work process of the Nobel Committee by establishing a group of experts to ensure long-term access to external expertise in the widest possible language areas.

The Nobel Committee

Membership of the Nobel Committee will rotate according to a clear agenda. The Nobel Committee shall, as a rule, consist of four or five Academy members as well as the Permanent Secretary as associate member. The assignment will be for three years with a possible three-year extension (commencing from 2021). After a period of absence from the Committee it will be possible to again be included.

There will be no standard age limit for work in the Nobel Committee, but the usual high demand on work capacity. Should anything occur during the assignment period to restrict a member from completing their work, the member may be replaced.

The Nobel Committee addresses the prize awarding process in close contact with the Academy. The Committee prepares what is known as the Long List in mid-February, a Semi-Long at the end of March and a Short List at the end of May: these are considered and approved by the Academy in plenary session. From the final Short List - normally of five candidates - the full Academy nominates a prize recipient.

Members of the Nobel Committee:
Anders Olsson (chair)
Ellen Mattson
Jesper Svenbro
Anne Swärd
Per Wästberg
Mats Malm (associate)

External area experts

The Academy is extremely grateful for the exceptional work provided by the external members of the Nobel Committee in the restricted time available for work on the 2018–2020 prizes. To further reinforce its global scope, the Academy will in future call on external expertise on the basis of area skills – specialist knowledge in specific language areas. The Academy has a long tradition of sourcing expert counsel in different areas and each year invites a broad cross-section of experts from around the world to submit nominations for the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Committee is therefore establishing a group of c:a 10 area experts, each appointed for a three-year period with the possibility of a one-time extension. The experts may be Swedish or foreign, in some cases Academy members who are not part of the Nobel Committee. They can choose to be anonymous. Area experts will not participate in the Nobel Committee’s deliberations. Their functions will be adjusted according to need.

One or two experts will initially be appointed for, respectively:

   The African countries

   The Hispanophone regions

   The Arabic and Persian language area

   The East-Asian language area

   The Slavic language area

   The Indian language area

The area experts’ task will be partly to submit an annotated review every year in January, partly to address questions from the Nobel Committee regarding individual nominations and candidates, and so on.