The regulation and management of hazardous industrial activities increasingly rely on formal expert judgment processes to provide wisdom in areas of science and technology where traditional “good science” is, in practice, unable to supply unambiguous “facts.” Expert judgment has always played a significant, if often unrecognized, role in analysis; however, recent trends are to make it formal, explicit, and documented so it can be identified and reviewed by others. We propose four categories of expert judgment and present three case studies which illustrate some of the pitfalls commonly encountered in its use. We conclude that there will be an expanding policy role for formal expert judgment and that the openness, transparency, and documentation that it requires have implications for enhanced public involvement in scientific and technical affairs.
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