Journal Article

A framework for making qualities of indicators transparent

Kjellrun Hiis Hauge, Erik Olsen, Hilde Elise Heldal and Hein Rune Skjoldal

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 552-557
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
A framework for making qualities of indicators transparent

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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A framework is presented to communicate different qualities of and uncertainties in indicators, and to enhance the transparency of conclusions and scientific advice based on them. The framework consists of four parts: Advice Statement, Power of Explanation, Robustness, and Performance Perspectives. The Advice Statement is descriptive and largely quantitative; the last three parts are more analytical and qualitative. Power of Explanation addresses the strength of the associated scientific knowledge. Robustness seeks to clarify how sensitive the indicator value and advice are to underlying assumptions. Performance Perspectives highlight prospects and drawbacks in a management context. The framework and its discussion are illustrated by examples on spawning-stock biomass of Northeast Arctic cod, technetium-99 concentrations in lobster, and harbour porpoise bycatch rates.

Keywords: indicators; qualities; transparency; uncertainty

Journal Article.  3556 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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