The need for a formalised system of Quality Control for environmental policy-science

Piers Larcombe, Peter Ridd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Research science used to inform public policy decisions, herein defined as “Policy-Science” is rarely subjected to rigorous checking, testing and replication. Studies of biomedical and other sciences indicate that a considerable fraction of published peer-reviewed scientific literature, perhaps half, has significant flaws. To demonstrate the potential failings of the present approaches to scientific Quality Control (QC), we describe examples of science associated with perceived threats to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. There appears a serious risk of efforts to improve the health of the GBR being directed inefficiently and/or away from the more serious threats. We suggest the need for a new organisation to undertake quality reviews and audits of important scientific results that underpin government spending decisions on the environment. Logically, such a body could also examine policy science in other key areas where governments rely heavily upon scientific results, such as education, health and criminology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)449-461
    Number of pages13
    JournalMarine pollution bulletin
    Volume126
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

    Keywords

    • Environmental science
    • Great Barrier Reef
    • Policy
    • Quality

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