The George Boole Foundation
The Decision Analysis Initiative

2nd Phase of the DAI 2015-2020
OQSI priority topics

Project Portfolio Management
PCM input specifications
Tacit knowledge metrics
Explicit knowledge metrics
Real Time Audit
Design & Simulation
Open Quality Standards Initiative

Hector McNeill
Standards & Methods Committee
George Boole Foundation

Core Data Sets

Core Data Sets are the minimum data requirements required to ensure all relevant information is available to undertake useful analysis and decision-making in the natural resources sectors. They are main component of Data Reference Models

Data Reference Models

A data reference model (DRM) is a comprehensive profile of data and how data is used to meet specific data processing requirements. It consists of a core dataset, data specifications in terms of required error and precision measure in relation to the application of the data and therefore to data collection methods. It contains the algorithms used to process the dataset components as well as the forms of data analuysis reporting.

The most productive management information systems are built around data reference models which possess all of the information necessary to analyse and report on specific thematic relationships.

Following a review of the operation of existing national and international standards provisions GBF has concluded that in many circumstances training and systems maintenance requirements are too costly in monetary terms for many potential users. In particular, the conditions in lower income countries inhibit the take-up of required standards by the very organizations who should be giving serious consideration to methods of increasing their efficiency and effectiveness. This is particulary true in the natural resources sectors and in particular those dealing with living resources such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries fresh water and marine systems, ecosystem services and biodiversity.

The George Boole Foundation established the Open Quality Standards Initiative (OQSI) to address this problem of accessibility. In addition the initial quest of OQSI1 has been to provide a more approporiate set of standards in support of projects and activities in the natural resources sectors.

Decision Analysis Perspectives

A basic requirement for sound decision analysis is to ensure that all relevant issues have been taken into account before taking a decision. OQSIs first set of standards are specified in relation to the support of an efficient project cycle management under Real Time Audit (RTA) applied to projects in the natural resources sector.

Decision Analysis Perspectives

A fundamental objective of OQSI is to provide information support for decision analysis based on decision analysis models. The objective of the reiterative decision analysis cycle is to ensure that the all of the essential considerations relevant to a decision are taken into account. Therefore deterministic models, simulations and analyses need to be able to provide evidence for decision-makers from several perspectives. Decision Analysis Perspective (DAPs) are a set of 9 (nine) basic analytical perspectives that cover most of the essential considerations to complete an adequate decision analysis on the selection of a project dealing with the natural resources domain.


Sustainability is an integral consideration in all DAPs, it needs to be validated in each DAP; it cannot be considered to be a separate factor, nor can it be ignored. If it is not adequately assessed in each DAP the decision analysis is invalidated.

DAPs include deterministic relationships between:
  • Biota (living natural resources)
  • Abiota (substrate natural resources environment including climate and altitude)
  • Technology processes to be applied (physical inputs & outputs)
  • Economics (markets, costs & margins)
  • Finance (the time dimension in economics)
  • Environmental (impacts on equilibrium of ecosystems)
  • Social (acceptability of proposed practice within ranges of expectations)
  • Constitutional economics (participatory questions, individual and public choice) (politics)
  • Regulatory and legal (constraints) including project constitutions, procedures and regulations (institutional)(politics)
Management Information Systems & Core Data Sets

Naturally in order to support such decision analysis there is a need to manage information in terms of its quality, relevance and costs. Management Information Systems therefore need to be based on a design that renders them capable of accessing and analysing the data necessary to generate the required information and knowledge to take decisions.

1 This decision was based upon recommendations made by a working groups made up of Agricultural Information Systems Europe prototyping service, Real Time Audit Europe and the RTA Task Force.

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