In the Commission’s opinion, this case has disclosed certain weaknesses in the routines practiced in connection with the publication of medical research articles. The Commission believes that, in order to contribute to the proper compliance with prevailing rules, medical journals should introduce and practice a system in which all coauthors are made part of the communication with the journals. They should be sent letters informing them that they have been stated as coauthors, and they should individually submit their confirmations of this directly to the respective editors. At the same time, the authors should submit a written account of what their intellectual contribution to the work consists of, which is something some journals require already. Likewise, the Commission believes that it would be reasonable that all coauthors are sent review statements. In this way the individual author’s awareness of his/her responsibility would be strengthened, and one would also avoid that researchers are listed as authors without any knowledge of this fact.
If such principles had been applied to the Lancet article, it is, in the Commission’s opinion, fairly likely that the research fraud would have been discovered already prior to publication, in particular considering fairly negative statements and critical questions by one of the professional colleagues who
reviewed the articles. Corresponding principles should apply to contributors who are listed under acknowledgements.
With the use of modern electronic communications, these suggestions for changed routines ought not to imply substantial administrative or financial burdens, in the Commission’s opinion. In order to alleviate the administrative challenges, one should therefore require that the submission of manuscripts be accompanied by a list of the email addresses of all authors/coauthors and contributors.
Furthermore, the Commission has considered whether the system of “fast-track publishing” which is practiced by some journals, may have unfortunate effects, in the sense that there is too little time between the evaluation by professional colleagues and publication for professional objections to the work to form part of the procedure. The Commission here confines itself to pointing at the problem. Even though the persons who are employed as professional colleagues in a “fast track” review system possess solid professional weight and integrity, one can nevertheless not entirely disregard that the time pressure inherent in the system itself generates an unnecessary risk that errors are not discovered.
8.3 The Commission’s concluding remark
In conclusion, the Commission will remark that although this case has been very serious and tragic for individuals, institutions and Norwegian research more generally, there appears to be a remarkable will internally in the research community to turn the case around to something positive – something everyone can learn from. Frequent contributions to newspapers, debates and seminars have shown an already great involvement in many research environments. The Commission will support such a way of thinking, and at the same time caution against sweeping this extraordinary case under the carpet – because it is extraordinary – and just continue as before.
On the contrary, this case provides an opportunity for a thorough discussion of different sides of the norms related to good research practice. The research community must make an all-out effort to make plain research’s traditional ideals of honesty, thoroughness, trustworthiness and openness. And this must be made visible to the general public so that the population’s trust in Norwegian research is maintained and reinforced.
Annex 1: Jon Sudbø’s publication list48
1: Sudbo J, Lee JJ, Lippman SM, Mork J, Sagen S, Flatner N, Ristimaki A, Sudbo A, Mao L,
Zhou X, Kildal W, Evensen JF, Reith A, Dannenberg AJ. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study. Lancet. 2005 Oct 15-21;366(9494):1359-
2: Sudbo J. Novel management of oral cancer: a paradigm of predictive oncology. Clin Med Res.
2004 Nov;2(4):233-42. Review.
3: Kildal W, Risberg B, Abeler VM, Kristensen GB, Sudbo J, Nesland JM, Danielsen HE. betacatenin
_expression, DNA ploidy and clinicopathological features in ovarian cancer: a study in
253 patients. Eur J Cancer. 2005 May;41(8):1127-34. Epub 2005 Apr 14.
4: Lilleby W, Sudbo J, Fossa SD. [Biology and treatment options during the development of
prostate cancer] Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2005 Mar 3;125(5):571-4. Review. Norwegian.
5: Sudbo J, Samuelsson R, Risberg B, Heistein S, Nyhus C, Samuelsson M, Puntervold R,
Sigstad E, Davidson B, Reith A, Berner A. Risk markers of oral cancer in clinically normal
mucosa as an aid in smoking cessation counseling. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Mar 20;23(9):1927-33.
6: Sudbo J, Reith A. The evolution of predictive oncology and molecular-based therapy for oral
cancer prevention. Int J Cancer. 2005 Jun 20;115(3):339-45. Review.
7: Lippman SM, Sudbo J, Hong WK. Oral cancer prevention and the evolution of moleculartargeted
drug development. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Jan 10;23(2):346-56. Review.
8: Kildal W, Kaern J, Kraggerud SM, Abeler VM, Sudbo J, Trope CG, Lothe RA, Danielsen HE.
Evaluation of genomic changes in a large series of malignant ovarian germ cell tumors--relation
to clinicopathologic variables. Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2004 Nov;155(1):25-32.
9: Sudbo J, Lippman SM, Lee JJ, Mao L, Kildal W, Sudbo A, Sagen S, Bryne M, El-Naggar A,
Risberg B, Evensen JF, Reith A. The influence of resection and aneuploidy on mortality in oral
leukoplakia. N Engl J Med. 2004 Apr 1;350(14):1405-13.
10: Sudbo J, Reith A, Florenes VA, Nesland JM, Ristimaki A, Bryne M. COX-2 _expression in
striated muscle under physiological conditions.
Oral Dis. 2003 Nov;9(6):313-6.
11: Sudbo J. Non-invasive early diagnosis of oral cavity malignancies.
Anal Cell Pathol. 2003;25(4):157-8.
12: Sudbo J, Bryne M, Mao L, Lotan R, Reith A, Kildal W, Davidson B, Soland TM, Lippman
SM. Molecular based treatment of oral cancer.
Oral Oncol. 2003 Dec;39(8):749-58. Review.
13: Sudbo J. Protection of research subjects. N Engl J Med. 2003 Jul 10;349(2):188-92; author
14: Sudbo J. [Chemoprevention of oral cancer] Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2003 May
29;123(11):1518-21. Review. Norwegian.
15: Sudbo J. [Chemoprevention: treatment of persons at high risk of cancer] Tidsskr Nor
Laegeforen. 2003 May 29;123(11):1514-7. Review. Norwegian.
16: Sudbo J, Ristimaki A, Sondresen JE, Kildal W, Boysen M, Koppang HS, Reith A, Risberg B,
Nesland JM, Bryne M. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in high-risk premalignant oral
lesions. Oral Oncol. 2003 Jul;39(5):497-505.
17: Scully C, Sudbo J, Speight PM. Progress in determining the malignant potential of oral
lesions. J Oral Pathol Med. 2003 May;32(5):251-6. Review.
18: Sudbo J, Reith A. When is an oral leukoplakia premalignant?
Oral Oncol. 2002 Dec;38(8):813-4; author reply 811-2. No abstract available.
19: Sudbo J, Reith A. Which putatively pre-malignant oral lesions become oral cancers? Clinical
relevance of early targeting of high-risk individuals.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2003 Feb;32(2):63-70. Review.
20: Reith A, Sudbo J. Impact of genomic instability in risk assessment and chemoprevention of
oral premalignancies. Int J Cancer. 2002 Sep 20;101(3):205-9. Review.
21: Sudbo J. [Adverse effects of COX-2 inhibitors] Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2002 Jan
22: Sudbo J. [DNA ploidy analysis--a possibility for early identification of patient with risk of
oral cancer] Lakartidningen. 2001 Nov 7;98(45):4980-4. Review. Norwegian.
23: Sudbo J. Pathology in disgrace? J Pathol. 2002 Feb;196(2):244-5. No abstract available.
24: Sudbo J, Kildal W, Johannessen AC, Koppang HS, Sudbo A, Danielsen HE, Risberg B,
Reith A. Gross genomic aberrations in precancers: clinical implications of a long-term follow-up
study in oral erythroplakias. J Clin Oncol. 2002 Jan 15;20(2):456-62.
25: Sudbo J, Warloe T, Aamdal S, Reith A, Bryne M. [Diagnosis and treatment of oral
precancerous lesions] Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2001 Oct 30;121(26):3066-71. Norwegian.
26: Sudbo J, Ried T, Bryne M, Kildal W, Danielsen H, Reith A.
Abnormal DNA content predicts the occurrence of carcinomas in non-dysplastic oral white
patches. Oral Oncol. 2001 Oct;37(7):558-65.
27: Sudbo J. Human papillomavirus infection as a risk factor for squamous-cell carcinoma of the
head and neck. N Engl J Med. 2001 Aug 2;345(5):376-7.
28: Sudbo J, Bryne M, Johannessen AC, Kildal W, Danielsen HE, Reith A. Comparison of
histological grading and large-scale genomic status (DNA ploidy) as prognostic tools in oral
dysplasia. J Pathol. 2001 Jul;194(3):303-10.
29: Sudbo J, Reith A, Lingjaerde OC. Gene-_expression profiles in hereditary breast cancer. N
Engl J Med. 2001 Jun 28;344(26):2029. No abstract available.
30: Sudbo J, Kildal W, Risberg B, Koppang HS, Danielsen HE, Reith A. DNA content as a
prognostic marker in patients with oral leukoplakia. N Engl J Med. 2001 Apr 26;344(17):1270-8.
31: Sudbo J, Marcelpoil R, Reith A. New algorithms based on the Voronoi Diagram applied in a
pilot study on normal mucosa and carcinomas. Anal Cell Pathol. 2000;21(2):71-86.
32: Sudbo J, Marcelpoil R, Reith A. Caveats: numerical requirements in graph theory based
quantitation of tissue architecture. Anal Cell Pathol. 2000;21(2):59-69.
33: Sudbo J, Bankfalvi A, Bryne M, Marcelpoil R, Boysen M, Piffko J, Hemmer J, Kraft K,
Reith A. Prognostic value of graph theory-based tissue architecture analysis in carcinomas of the
tongue. Lab Invest. 2000 Dec;80(12):1881-9.
34: Danielsen HE, Kildal W, Sudbo J. [Digital image analysis in pathology--exemplified in
prostatic cancer] Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2000 Feb 10;120(4):479-88. Review. Norwegian.
35: Bryne M, Boysen M, Alfsen CG, Abeler VM, Sudbo J, Nesland JM, Kristensen GB, Piffko J,
Bankfalvi A. The invasive front of carcinomas. The most important area for tumour prognosis?
Anticancer Res. 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6B):4757-64. Review.
36: Zhang Z, Suo Z, Sudbo J, Holm R, Boysen M, Reith A. Diagnostic implications of p53
protein reactivity in nasal mucosa of nickel workers.
Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 1997 Aug;19(4):345-50.
37: Xie X, Clausen OP, Sudbo J, Boysen M. Diagnostic and prognostic value of nucleolar
organizer regions in normal epithelium, dysplasia, and squamous cell carcinoma of the oral
cavity. Cancer. 1997 Jun 1;79(11):2200-8.
38: Bjaalie JG, Sudbo J, Brodal P. Corticopontine terminal fibres form small scale clusters and
large scale lamellae in the cat. Neuroreport. 1997 May 6;8(7):1651-5.