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Guidance on the use of the weight of evidence approach in scientific assessments

Hardy, Anthony; Benford, Diane; Halldorsson, Thorhallur; Jeger, Michael John; Knutsen, Helle Katrine; More, Simon; Naegeli, Hanspeter; Noteborn, Hubert; Ockleford, Colin; Ricci, Antonia; Rychen, Guido; Schlatter, Josef R; Silano, Vittorio; Solecki, Roland; Turck, Dominique; Benfenati, Emilio; Chaudhry, Qasim Mohammad; Craig, Peter; Frampton, Geoff; Greiner, Matthias; Hart, Andrew; Hogstrand, Christer; Lambre, Claude; Luttik, Robert; Makowski, David; Siani, Alfonso; Wahlstroem, Helene; Aguilera, Jaime; Dorne, Jean‐Lou; Fernandez Dumont, Antonio; Hempen, Michaela; Valtueña Martínez, Silvia; Martino, Laura; Smeraldi, Camilla; Terron, Andrea; Georgiadis, Nikolaos; Younes, Maged

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Anthony Hardy

Diane Benford

Thorhallur Halldorsson

Michael John Jeger

Helle Katrine Knutsen

Simon More

Hanspeter Naegeli

Hubert Noteborn

Colin Ockleford

Antonia Ricci

Guido Rychen

Josef R Schlatter

Vittorio Silano

Roland Solecki

Dominique Turck

Emilio Benfenati

Qasim Mohammad Chaudhry

Geoff Frampton

Matthias Greiner

Andrew Hart

Christer Hogstrand

Claude Lambre

Robert Luttik

David Makowski

Alfonso Siani

Helene Wahlstroem

Jaime Aguilera

Jean‐Lou Dorne

Antonio Fernandez Dumont

Michaela Hempen

Silvia Valtueña Martínez

Laura Martino

Camilla Smeraldi

Andrea Terron

Nikolaos Georgiadis

Maged Younes


EFSA requested the Scientific Committee to develop a guidance document on the use of the weight of evidence approach in scientific assessments for use in all areas under EFSA's remit. The guidance document addresses the use of weight of evidence approaches in scientific assessments using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Several case studies covering the various areas under EFSA's remit are annexed to the guidance document to illustrate the applicability of the proposed approach. Weight of evidence assessment is defined in this guidance as a process in which evidence is integrated to determine the relative support for possible answers to a question. This document considers the weight of evidence assessment as comprising three basic steps: (1) assembling the evidence into lines of evidence of similar type, (2) weighing the evidence, (3) integrating the evidence. The present document identifies reliability, relevance and consistency as three basic considerations for weighing evidence.


Hardy, A., Benford, D., Halldorsson, T., Jeger, M. J., Knutsen, H. K., More, S., …Younes, M. (2017). Guidance on the use of the weight of evidence approach in scientific assessments. EFSA Journal, 15(8), Article e04971.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 12, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 3, 2017
Publication Date Aug 3, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 20, 2017
Journal EFSA Journal
Print ISSN 1831-4732
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 8
Article Number e04971


Published Journal Article (4.3 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2017 European Food Safety Authority. EFSA Journal published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd on behalf of European Food Safety Authority. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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