Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Policy decisions in the related areas of environment and development employ scientific information as an important input. The problems of assuring quality of information are particularly acute for the production of data on the natural environment, because of the severe inherent uncertainties of the material. These are compounded when the environment in question is in a developing country. The management of uncertainty is the only way the quality of scientific information can be maintained. The approach here intends to clarify and develop craft skills of researchers. The relationship between uncertainty and quality of information is complex. The method developed uses NUSAP, a simple but taxonomic formalism, which extends ordinary notations in a natural way. One implication of the analysis of quality is the need to extend the peer-community for quality assurance of information, in policy issues involving severe uncertainties or high decision stakes. Stakeholders prepared for a serious dialogue are legitimate members of that peer-community, while their special perspectives, including local knowledge, personal experience and science, share legitimacy in the process. In this way the dialogue between developed and developing nations on issues of science, technology and environment may be made more effective, avoiding the mistakes of the past.

Additional information

Authors: FUNTOWICZ S O, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: Spruce Conference Statistics in Public Resources and Utilities and in Care of the Environment, Lisboa (PT), April 7-10, 1992
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 36649 ORA
Record Number: 199210821 / Last updated on: 1994-12-02
Original language: en
Available languages: en