Review by quality not quantity for better policy

Global assessments need to adopt more rigorous and focused processes for collation and review, says William J. Sutherland.

http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/1.14154!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/503167a.pdf

This approach seems to have a range of advantages. It concentrates on the few crucial issues but presents them in a more transparent and rigorous manner that is likely to provide greater confidence and reduce the likelihood of errors. After the evidence is collated, it can be updated regularly to allow for quick reassessment (conversely, the IPCC assessment is repeated about every six years and is hugely expensive). With the bedrock of the evidence assembled and presented in a user-friendly way, the evidence on key issues can be continually collated and regularly assessed.

Bill Nature

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Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims

http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/1.14183!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/503335a.pdf

“Calls for the closer integration of science in political decision-making have been commonplace for decades. However, there are serious problems in the application of science to policy …

To this end, we suggest 20 concepts that should be part of the education of civil servants, politicians, policy advisers and journalists — and anyone else who may have to interact with science or scientists. Politicians with a healthy scepticism of scientific advocates might simply prefer to arm themselves with this critical set of knowledge.

We are not so naive as to believe that improved policy decisions will automatically follow. We are fully aware that scientific judgement itself is value-laden, and that bias and context are integral to how data are collected and interpreted. What we offer is a simple list of ideas that could help decision-makers to parse how evidence can contribute to a decision, and potentially to avoid undue influence by those with vested interests.”

Bill David Nature