A checklist for model credibility, salience, and legitimacy to improve information transfer in environmental policy assessments

06-02-2016 | Publication

The article presents a checklist for modelers involved in model-based assessments that is aimed at the identification and monitoring of issues, limitations and trade-offs regarding model quality criteria. The checklist is intended to be consulted during assessments; its application may result in greater awareness among modelers involved in assessments regarding model quality criteria, and may positively affect the uptake of model-based knowledge from environmental policy assessments by policy actors.

The article presents a checklist for modelers involved in model-based assessments that is aimed at the identification and monitoring of issues, limitations and trade-offs regarding model quality criteria. The checklist is intended to be consulted during assessments; its application may result in greater awareness among modelers involved in assessments regarding model quality criteria, and may positively affect the uptake of model-based knowledge from environmental policy assessments by policy actors.

Modelers involved in environmental policy assessments are commonly confronted with the lack of uptake of model output by policy actors. Actors have different expectations of models, condensed into three quality criteria: credibility, salience, and legitimacy. The fulfilment of quality criteria is also dynamic as expectations vary, change, and possibly counteract each other. The article presents a practical checklist for modelers who are involved in environmental assessments to identify and when possible address issues that arise during the assessment regarding the three model quality criteria credibility, salience and legitimacy. It  draws upon the literature of integrated assessments as well as case study analysis of environmental policy assessments for the Dutch government, based on expert interviews and embedded experience. The primary goal of the checklist, as we see it, is to create awareness among modelers and provide a code of good practice.