The study, carried out by Dorothy Dankel, Kari Stange and Kåre Nolde Nielsen of ICES Working Group on Marine Systems (WGMARS), examines this issue in theory and practice, drawing on interviews with scientists that have worked with the development and evaluation of management plans in ICES. Four main scientific roles in this context are identified: developer, reviewer, judge, and messenger.
It is not entirely unproblematic for scientists to wear more than one hat in their work. For the individual scientists it may be challenging to keep multiple roles separate and be responsive to their different demands. On an institutional level, it may have implications for the way the scientific advisory process is perceived externally with regard to transparency and credibility.
To illustrate the varying scientific roles and how they interconnect, the authors use examples of producing and evaluating management plans for pelagic fish stocks in Europe. Here, fishery scientists increasingly interact with Advisory Councils and industry stakeholders when performing as developers and messengers. The increased use of multi-annual plans creates a need for these scientists to contribute with their expertise in a wide variety of situations; this phenomenon of multiple hat-wearing is also brought about in terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), where trends lean towards a more participatory scientific agenda for advice.
The authors suggest that the roles can be separated through formal arrangements but also observe that this strategy will be difficult to carry out fully in practice. By asking the question "which hat are you wearing?", fishery scientists, their employers, and scientific advisory organizations can reflect on and communicate roles, affiliations, mandates, and possible consequences of wearing different hats as a means to enhance transparency in the advisory process.
Image: Mariano Collantes