From insight network to open policy practice: practical experiences

Paper by Jouni T. Tuomisto, Mikko V. Pohjola & Teemu J. Rintala: “Evidence-informed decision-making and better use of scientific information in societal decisions has been an area of development for decades but is still topical. Decision support work can be viewed from the perspective of information collection, synthesis and flow between decision-makers, experts and stakeholders. Open policy practice is a coherent set of methods for such work. It has been developed and utilised mostly in Finnish and European contexts.

The evaluation revealed that methods and online tools work as expected, as demonstrated by the assessments and policy support processes conducted. The approach improves the availability of information and especially of relevant details. Experts are ambivalent about the acceptability of openness – it is an important scientific principle, but it goes against many current research and decision-making practices. However, co-creation and openness are megatrends that are changing science, decision-making and the society at large. Against many experts’ fears, open participation has not caused problems in performing high-quality assessments. On the contrary, a key challenge is to motivate and help more experts, decision-makers and citizens to participate and share their views. Many methods within open policy practice have also been widely used in other contexts.

Open policy practice proved to be a useful and coherent set of methods. It guided policy processes toward a more collaborative approach, whose purpose was wider understanding rather than winning a debate. There is potential for merging open policy practice with other open science and open decision process tools. Active facilitation, community building and improving the user-friendliness of the tools were identified as key solutions for improving the usability of the method in the future….(More)”.