RFF Value of Information Workshop Report Released
by Molly Macauley and Ramanan Laxminarayan, Resources for the Future, Published August 2010
This report highlights the major conclusions and outcomes from a workshop held June 28–29, 2010 at Resources for the Future in Washington, DC, on methodological frontiers and new applications of valuing information and its social benefit. The participants provided answers to a series of questions: What is meant by “value of information”? When does information have value? What are state-of-the-practice methods to ascribe value to information? Participants also identified steps to ascribe, measure, and communicate value.
The workshop was distinctive in serving as the first multi-day, in-depth meeting to convene experts in the two disparate communities of social science and Earth science to identify and critique state-of-the-practice methods for ascribing value and societal benefit to information. The workshop outputs include specific recommendations and actions to enhance and further demonstrate the value of information from public investments, particularly those in Earth science applications.
A main finding is that investment in Earth observations confers many benefits but a lack of tools and resources has caused these benefits to be less well measured and communicated than warranted. The report includes suggestions attendees offered as next steps to enhance modeling, evaluation, and communication of the array of benefits.
Report PDF can be found at: http://www.rff.org/Publications/Pages/PublicationDetails.aspx?PublicationID=21266
Interestingly, one participant of the workshop remarked on “the difference between public and private sector perspectives. In the public sector (and academia), the primary questions seem to concern the overall value of information. To be useful in the private sector, such questions must be augmented by knowledge of how that value is allocated throughout the supplier-customer chain.”
For commentary by one of the workshop’s steering committee members, Bill Hooke, visit his blog posting Knowing What the Earth Will Do Next? Priceless.
**Also, check out the comment posted by Bill Gail, another workshop steering committee member, by clicking the comment link right under the title at the very top of the post.