without changes to development and financing, according to a new paper in BioScience.
Our colleagues at the EBM Tools Network are the authors of this paper, which stresses the importance of consistent, long-term funding.
The full text of the article is available here:
Did you realize that the amount of funding available to EBM tool developers is less than 2% of that invested in new commercial software efforts?
The main benefit of EBM tools is their ability to help solve real-world problems and aid in decision making. Because many software developers working in EBM tool development and application (including WPC) believe in these tools remaining fee-free and open-source, finances for development come primarily from research grants and as add-ons to model application contracts. A consequence of this is that users of these tools have commonly mentioned that models were difficult to apply due to poor documentation and maintenance and often contained software bugs. Logically, developers attribute the lack of higher-quality software to the lack of sufficient long-term funding. An additional challenge for developers and researchers is estimating the effort required when proposing model development contracts.
SLAMM meets two of the three criteria the article sets forth for financially sustainable tools- where it falls short is having an “expected source of funding for the foreseeable future”. Our ideas for improving SLAMM extend beyond the funding sources available for model development. We understand our clients are not always in the position to fund long-term development of the model and feel the model in its current form remains a useful tool for managers and policymakers. However, we continue to actively seek to improve the model and find the article by Curtice and coworkers a useful tool in itself to educate users, developers, and funders.
On May 9th, Marco Propato and Jonathan Clough presented a webinar demonstrating the Uncertainty Analysis capabilities of the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) through the EBM Tools Network. We are very grateful to the EBM Tools Network for hosting this event, as it allowed us to reach out to many current and potential SLAMM users and provide an update on the newest capabilities built into the model.
A summary of the presentation is provided below, along with a link to the webinar for those who were unable to attend …or who liked it so much you want to watch it again!
Predictive models are always affected by uncertainties. There is not one “right” prediction, rather there is a distribution of possible future results. The recent integration of a stochastic uncertainty analysis module to the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) allows users to examine wetland coverage results as distributions and can improve the decision making process. This addition to the SLAMM interface makes it possible to examine the effects of uncertainty and data errors in model parameters, including sea level rise, uplift/subsidence, tide ranges, and accretion and erosion rates, as well as feedbacks between sea level rise and accretion. Uncertainty in the elevation data layer can be assessed while considering issues such as the spatial-autocorellation of measurement errors. Results account for uncertainties in input parameters and driving variables, provide a range of possible outcomes and their likelihood, and allow model users to evaluate the robustness of deterministic results. A stand-alone program, the SLAMM Uncertainty Viewer, was developed with funding from Ducks Unlimited in order to simplify uncertainty output for end users, analysts, and decision makers. The SLAMM Uncertainty Viewer provides a map-based interface that analyzes future wetland-coverage probabilities for a user-defined region. Graphical outputs from the viewer provide quantitative results that can assist in planning and decision-making.
In order to stay in touch with our clients and collaborators, WPC is joining the blogosphere!
Our plan is to use this space to keep interested parties up-to-date on our company and projects, advances in model development of SLAMM and AQUATOX, and to share interesting papers on climate change, accelerated sea-level rise, and related topics.
We look forward to sharing this new aspect of our company with you and reading your comments.
- Jonathan, Amy, and Marco