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Table 1 Findings on the integration dimensions from the case studies

From: Integrated assessment of emerging science and technologies as creating learning processes among assessment communities

  Nanotech & Food Synthetic Biology (SB) Biofuels Cloud Computing
a) Inclusion of all areas of topics into assessments Broader set of topics is already included. More data integration not recommended A majority of assessments includes a broad set of topics Social issues lacking in assessments Many assessments include a broad set of topics but within distinct scientific perspectives
b) Inclusion of values into assessments Better inclusion of values in assessments is needed Ethical issues are addressed in the corpus as a whole Generally lack of explicit values and ethical discussion Generally low level of reflection on values
c) Inclusion of narratives into assessments Narratives not included Not considered much, though some scenarios are addressed Generally not included Although hype narratives play a great role in assessments, narratives are not explicated as such
d) Not isolating one topic at the expense of the whole More topic focused assessments needed taking practical complexity into account When SB matures and specific applications are developed, this form of integration may become more important Call for increased consideration of alternatives Focusing specifically on cloud computing may explain why wider ICT-related issues (e.g. Big Data) are not discussed
e) Explicating assessment framing Transparency of framing should be increased Explicit reflection on framing is lacking Problem framing is generally not clear Explicit reflection on framing is lacking
f) Anticipation Systematic anticipation and scrutiny of alternative technology paths is needed Anticipation is appropriately addressed Many biofuels assessments are anticipatory Most assessments have a short-term anticipatory focus but do not investigate longer term implications
g) Targeted use of methods in assessment In general not much reflection on methods In general not much reflection on methods Lack of transparency on methods, in particular concerning Life Cycle Analysis Some assessments use methods in a business-as-usual manner, others design methods to produce certain types of outcomes
h) Integration of stakeholders/the public into assessments Less use of participatory approaches over time Although stakeholder and lay people participation is lacking, how, and to what extent more participation is required is not clear Much more participation is called for Very little, more is called for
i) Integration among assessments More systematic learning is needed Currently not much integration An integration institution was called for The integrating effect is in policy-making, not among the assessments themselves
j) Integration of governance concerns into assessments Reflection on impacts of governance trends not included in assessments in a systematic way Not systematically done, though there is reflection on current biotech. governance and regulation and to what extent this suits the (future) field of SB Governance concerns are well integrated except for the social dimension of sustainability Due to many assessments being commissioned, in general governance concerns are well integrated in the assessments
k) Better integration of assessments into governance No information available on how assessments are integrated into governance Apparently low impact of the assessments on governance There appears to be a potential better integration, at the expense of consultants Some assessments seem designed to support policies, not the other way around