Methodology developments among efforts contributing to Open EFSA

A new editorial highlights how EFSA scientists are tackling key scientific issues that will increase the openness, robustness and transparency of EFSA’s scientific assessments. EFSA also presents a new report that shows how these and other on-going efforts, along with further potential measures are responding to public feedback received by EFSA during last year’s consultation on the “Transformation to an Open EFSA”.

Professor Tony Hardy, Chair of EFSA’s Scientific Committee and a co-author of the editorial, explains the scientific rationale for this work in a related interview: “We want the wider scientific community to understand our work better.” Ultimately, he adds, this will improve communication of the assessment outcomes to decision-makers, the wider scientific community and stakeholders.

The editorial aims to open up a discussion on these methodological activities – specifically covering methods for evidence use in science, uncertainty in risk assessment, weight of evidence and biological relevance – in the wider scientific community. As a first step in this dialogue, EFSA sought the views of other scientific advisory bodies on the editorial and on the scope of these activities. (A report on this targeted consultation is available below.)

Openness and transparency have been key values for EFSA since it was set up in 2002. The Authority has implemented and continues to develop numerous important measures, such as this one, to make it more accountable and accessible to European consumers. EFSA is also currently improving access to data used in its scientific assessments.

Following up on public feedback

Steps to further embed openness and transparency in EFSA’s working processes are under way and being intensified. A number of measures have been identified by the Authority and by stakeholders who took part in a public consultation held last year. These are included in a comprehensive report published below.

EFSA is now considering how to make best use of these proposals, in close consultation with its Management Board, which last week discussed an action plan on measures to further improve openness and transparency at the organisation. The Management Board fully supports the Authority’s efforts to make itself more open and accountable.

Sue Davies, Chair of the Board, said: “Being more transparent helps people to understand that EFSA is there to act in society’s interest.” And greater openness means that, EFSA can benefit from a broader range of insights and data to enhance the quality of its outputs, she added.

EFSA Journal editorial:

Transformation to an Open EFSA:

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