Opasnet brochure

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Opasnet brochure is an easy-to-read promotion leaflet about Opasnet. It should tell the basic idea and major functionalities of Opasnet. The target audience is anyone who hears about Opasnet for the first time and is interested in learning what it actually is and where it can be found.


It's title should be the main slogan: "Anyone can solve common problems". The title should be described in one paragraph.

It should contain the descriptions of the five main properties:

  • Completely open participation.
  • Systematic information structure (research questions and attempted answers).
  • Everything is subject to scientific criticism.
  • Formal argumentation is used to resolve disputes.
  • Quantitative estimates are uploaded to a database where anyone can use them.

It should invite the reader to read more from Opasnet and contribute in other ways.

It should tell about some real assessments where the reader can contribute.

It should have a few illustrative figures.

The format of the brochure should be double-sided, colour-printed A4. It should be folded once (to size A5) or twice (height of A5, width 1/3 of the height of A4). It should also be available as a PDF file.

Intarese instructions


Author1, Author2, Author3, Author4

1) Institution name and address 2) Institution name and address 3) Institution name and address 4). Institution name and address

Corresponding author: Name, e-mail address

Keywords: Please identify 3-5 keywords.

Aim: Please kindly keep the total length of Aim and Abstract to approximately 350 words. Font size 12, Times New Roman. Abstract: Acknowledgements:

Please submit your abstract to Dr. Kornelia Jumel (k.jumel()imperial.ac.uk) by 7 January 2011


See the Power Point file for printing out the brochure: File:Opasnet brochure.ppt. The texts in the brochure are presented below. Posters made for text below: File:Opasnet poster JAN2011.ppt.

Open assessment: developing shared understanding for practical use

Jouni T. Tuomisto1, Mikko V. Pohjola1

1) National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, Finland

Corresponding author: Jouni Tuomisto (jouni.tuomisto(at)thl.fi)

Keywords: Open assessment, impact assessment, policy support, decision-making, mass collaboration


To develop a method for organising scientific information and value judgements for improving societal decision-making in a situation where open participation is allowed.


The world is packed with common problems awaiting for solutions - global warming or urban air pollution to name a few. Many people would be willing to make an effort in solving these problems but so far have been lacking practical means to contribute. Open assessment is a method that aims to offer rules and practices for collecting and synthesising information by self-organised groups into useful pieces (or objects) of information to guide decisions.

In open assessment, the information needed for making a decision is organised as an assessment that predicts the impacts of different decision options on some outcomes of interest. Decisions, outcomes, and other particular issues are modelled as distinct and self-standing information objects called variables. In practice, a variable is a pair of web pages (one for content about an issue, another for discussion about the content) in an open web-workspace Opasnet (http://en.opasnet.org). They contain all information (text, numerical values, and software code) needed to describe and actually run that part of an assessment model.

Pages have a universal structure: a research question (what is the issue?), rationale (what do we know about the issue?), and result (what is our current best answer to the research question?). Anyone can participate in reading, evaluating, and contributing to web page content just as in Wikipedia. The content reflects and communicates the shared understanding of the issue in the participating group. As the group gets larger and the contributions richer, the content asymptotically approaches the best current scientific knowledge about the issue.

There are rules (summarised below) to manage all discussions about a particular issue (documented on its discussion page) and then to decide what to believe about it (documented on its content page).

Anyone can promote a statement about anything. A statement can be factual (what is?) or moral (what should be?) by nature. A promoted statement is considered valid unless it is invalidated (i.e., convincingly attacked with a valid statement). The validity of a statement is always conditional to a particular group (which is or is not convinced).

Statements can be defended or attacked with other statements thus forming a hierarchical structure. When a discussion is resolved, all valid top-level statements are incorporated into the content page. All resolutions are provisional, and anyone can re-open a discussion.

If there is uncertainty about whether a statement is true, the uncertainty is quantitatively measured with subjective probabilities. A priori beliefs are updated into a posteriori beliefs based on observations (in case of factual statements) or opinions (in case of moral statements) and open criticism that is based on rationality, relevance, and other shared rules.

Opasnet functionalities for impact assessment

Teemu Rintala1, Jouni T. Tuomisto1, Einari Happonen1, Juha Villman1

1) National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, Finland

Corresponding author: Teemu Rintala (teemu.rintala(at)thl.fi)

Keywords: Opasnet, open assessment, collaborative web-workspace, modelling tools, discussion tools

Aim: To develop an all-singing-all-dancing web-workspace for performing any tasks needed in an impact assessment.

Abstract: Opasnet is a web-workspace for making impact assessments, especially open assessments. A main objective is that all work needed in an assessment can be performed using this single interface, whether it be information collection, numerical modelling, discussions, statistical analyses on original data, publishing original research results, peer review, organising and distributing tasks within a group, or dissemination of results to decision-makers. This abstract briefly describes some of the existing functionalities.

The user interface of Opasnet is an open wiki and it is in many respects similar to Wikipedia with content pages and discussion pages, with additional functionalities for structured discussions. Assessments consist of variables which are in practice self-standing Opasnet pages. Most variables have numerical values as results, often expressed as probability distributions. Opasnet has a database that can store very flexibly almost any results that can be expressed as two-dimensional tables. Results can be uploaded and downloaded using a respective Opasnet page as interface. Further, if one variable (B) is causally dependent on variable (A), the result of A can be automatically retrieved and used in a formula for calculating B using a simulation and modelling functionality based on statistical software R.

Because Opasnet contains interconnected distributions of variables, it is also a very large Bayesian belief network, which can be used for assessment-level analyses and conditioning and optimising different decision options. Opasnet can be used to find optimal decision options and also to assess the value of further information for a particular decision.

Opasnet contains functionalities for discussing and evaluating the content of Opasnet, in addition to the main purpose for discussing real-world phenomena. The most common form of these "meta-level" functionalities are rating bars on many Opasnet pages. Users can evaluate the scientific quality and usefulness of that page. This information can then be used by the assessors to direct further work or by readers to evaluate reliability of a page content.

The users are also allowed to make peer reviews of pages. These are similar to peer reviews in scientific journals. Contribution scores can be used to estimate user contributions quantitatively, but more advanced methods are in development. Task functionality keeps task lists and sends email notifications to users to whom tasks are assigned by others.

Any information organised for any previous assessment is readily available for a new assessment on an analogous issue. Thus, the work time for data collection is reduced and efficiency is increased.

If malevolent attacks occur, a content page can be protected without restricting the discussion about, or improvement of, the content on the related discussion page; the resolutions from the discussions are simply updated to the actual content on the issue page by a trusted moderator.