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Evidence relying on simulation models and expert judgment

A BECC Action Group

This action group aims to review existing frameworks for evidence synthesis, scientific decision support systems, and risk assessment, to identify key challenges, possible solutions and recommendations to make evidence relying on complex computer models and the use of expert knowledge an integral part of “evidence-based” concept.

We have no prior view that models and/or expert judgment always are valid as evidence, but are open to the possibility that it may be the case for certain decision problems and in certain contexts. 

The perception of “evidence” in “evidence-based” is often as empirical evidence. By empirical evidence, we mean information acquired by observation or experimentation. A strong one-sided perception of evidence, and thereby evidence-based, have resulted in irrelevant studies (bringing a supply of evidence which do not meet the demand) or decisions missing early warnings of undesired impacts.

The aim of this action group is to go deeper into what evidence is, or can be, apart from empirical evidence. The scope of this action group is relevant for BECC research, which aim to develop a stronger role in providing evidence that in conservation are in forms like studies, systematic reviews, summaries, and decision support systems. 

Within the AG we will specifically address the following questions: i) Under what circumstances can models and/or expert judgment be considered as evidence? ii) What type of criteria can be used to evaluate the reliability of evidence based on simulation models? iii) To what extent is expert judgment used for predictions (soft evidence) compared to assigning quality weights to evidence?

Preliminary results from the action group will be presented at the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence conference in Stockholm August 2016. We also plan to have an open seminar in January 2017, in which stakeholders and researchers will be invited.

Contact

Ullrika Sahlin, Lund University
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research
personal webbpage