What use is CRELE? A response to Dunn and Laing

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This paper responds to an original research article by Gemma Dunn and Matthew Laing in volume 76 of this journal. Their article describes an empirical study on the demand-side of the science-policy interface, and proposes a new framework by which to evaluate and/or design effective knowledge systems for influencing policymaking. In doing so, they also critique the commonly used CRELE framework, and propose that their alternative ACTA framework better summarises the most important aspects of scientific research for influencing decision-making. In response, this paper highlights some ambiguities commonly arising from the use of CRELE, to which Dunn and Laing have also succumbed, alongside ambiguities within CRELE itself, which they have failed to address. These difficulties highlight how empirical evidence of the sort collected by Dunn and Laing should not alone determine the worth of any knowledge-systems framework. This paper then discusses the dangers arising from a framework such as ACTA, were it to be used instead, and concludes that although CRELE is flawed, it does at least point to appropriate priorities for the use of evidence in public decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-150
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Credibility
  • Evidence-based policy
  • Legitimacy
  • Salience
  • Science-policy interface


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