About this Research Topic
Complex systems are typically encountered when dealing with health related problems in the areas of animal health, animal welfare, zoonoses and food safety/food security. The importance of systematic approaches in the appraisal, extraction and synthesis of pertinent information has been recognised in various areas. Better understanding and better scientific decision support for choosing among alternative treatments or interventions requires that determining factors for the phenomena of interest are taken into consideration. The knowledge about these factors, which are often variable over time and space is often limited. Hence, uncertainty is a key characteristic in describing these systems. There is no unique methodology and /or process that fits all application areas of knowledge synthesis under uncertainty. Uncertainty is generally understood as the result of little information/knowledge about a particular problem and can emerge as the result of new problems where little data is available or also as the result of known problems but applied to different population and /or spatial domains.
Different methodologies have been used to summarize and combine scientific knowledge to help decision makers in making a robust decision about a particular problem that involves uncertainty. Particularly, evidence based methodologies such as systematic reviews and meta-analysis as well as risk assessment models have been used to support the knowledge appraisal and synthesis with account for the uncertainty of a decision problem. In addition, novel decision support tools have been developed to incorporate the expertise and values from different stakeholders involved in a decision problem while accounting for the uncertainty of each component of the decision model. For instance Bayesian Belief Networks are currently being used to address complex problems, like food insecurity, which involves many stakeholders with different preferences and values and levels of information.
With this Research Topic we aim to attract manuscripts that will address complex problems in food safety, animal health (including livestock, companion and wildlife animals), animal welfare, zoonosis and veterinary public health and might include environmental health using stochastic risk models and evidence synthesis quantitative or qualitative tools. Specifically, we would like to include manuscripts that develop, adapt or apply:
• assessment or exposure assessment methodologies that capture uncertainties on the model input side and transparently show their effect on the model outcome side;
• methodologies for gathering, rating/grading and summarising evidence;
• decision support models and multi-criteria decision tools that propagates uncertainty across the model components;
• integrated models that use risk assessment and quantitative evidence synthesis methods into decision support tools while accounting for uncertainty
The methodologies of this Research Topic are active areas of research and we will like to provide an opportunity to disseminate findings and new methodologies that can be applied in different contexts in all areas of food safety (microbiological and chemical), zoonosis, outbreak investigation, animal health, animal welfare, and clinical veterinary medicine.
Keywords: evidence based, risk assessment, meta-analysis, evidence synthesis, decision models, uncertainty
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.