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Expert reports by large multidisciplinary groups: the case of the International Panel on Climate Change

Drouet, Isabelle and Andler, Daniel and Barberousse, Anouk and Jebeile, Julie (2021) Expert reports by large multidisciplinary groups: the case of the International Panel on Climate Change. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Recent years have seen a notable increase in the production of scientific expertise by large multidisciplinary groups. The issue we address is how reports may be written by such groups in spite of their size and of formidable obstacles: complexity of subject matter, uncertainty, and scientific disagreement. Our focus is on the International Panel on Climate Change (henceforth IPCC), unquestionably the best-known case of such collective scientific expertise. What we show is that the organization of work within the IPCC aims to make it possible to produce documents that are indeed expert reports. To do so, we first put forward the epistemic norms that apply to expert reports in general, that is, the properties that reports should have in order to be useful and to help decision-making. Section 2 claims that these properties are: intelligibility, relevance and accuracy. Based on this analysis, section 3 points to the difficulties of having IPCC reports indeed satisfying these norms. We then show how the organization of work within the IPCC aims at and to a large extent secures intelligibility, relevance and accuracy, with the result that IPCC reports can be relied on for decision-making. Section 4 focuses on the fundamentals of IPCC’s work organization--that is, division of labour within the IPCC--while section 5 investigates three frameworks that were introduced over the course of the functioning of the IPCC: the reviewing procedure of IPCC reports, the language that IPCC authors use to express uncertainty and the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). Concluding remarks are offered in section 6.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Drouet, Isabelleisabelle.drouet@sorbonne-universite.fr
Andler, Danieldaniel.andler@ens.fr
Barberousse, Anoukanouk.barberousse@sorbonne-universite.fr
Jebeile, Juliejulie.jebeile@philo.unibe.ch0000-0002-7164-5848
Keywords: Scientific expertise Collective expertise Multidisciplinary groups Expert reports International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Uncertainty
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Climate Science and Meteorology
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
Depositing User: Isabelle Drouet
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2021 03:46
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 03:46
Item ID: 19675
DOI or Unique Handle: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-021-03430-y
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Climate Science and Meteorology
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
Date: 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19675

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