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In Policy-Related Reseach, uncertainty is politicised, as both decision-makers and the general public become increasingly aware of the limitations of science in the face of environmental threats. A mathematical statement of the limits of reliability of a risk assessment statement is quite incomprehensible to the lay user. Given in prose, any definite advice is liable to appear unnecessarily alarmist (if nothing happens) or incorrect (if reassurance is given and an event does occur). Thus the credibility of science is endangered. NUSAP (Numerical, Unit, Spread, Assessment and Pedigree) provides a methodology for the translation of statements of scientific uncertainties into quality evaluations of information in these five categories. It thus distinguishes amongst different sorts of uncertainty, so that complex judgments may be expressed.

Additional information

Authors: FUNTOWICZ S O, JRC Ispra, Institute of Systems Engineering, 21020 Ispra (VA) (IT);RAVETZ J R, Department of Philosophy, The University, Leeds LS2 9JT (GB)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: International Congress "The Experts are Categorical: Scientific Controversies and Political Decisions Concerning the Environment", Arc et Senans (FR), Sept. 11-13, 1989
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 34954 ORA
Record Number: 198911144 / Last updated on: 1994-12-01
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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