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, No 6
  • Editorial
    2015, 11(6): 519.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p519.mag
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    This is the last issue of the year 2015 and it is also the last special issue under my editorship of International Journal of Performability Engineering being published for last 11 years under the ownership of RAMS Consultants. As you will note from the Update on IJPE on page 520 (next page) of this issue, we have published 25 special issues on all the aspects of Performability Engineering, covering Quality, Reliability, Maintainability/ Maintenance, Safety and Risk and lastly Sustainability. We had invited the well-known experts and researchers for these special issues practically from all parts of the world. In all, we have published 57 regular issues incorporating 479 full papers, 52 short papers and 112 reviews of latest books published by well-known publishers in all areas of Performability Engineering covering 6067 printed pages in these 11 years of my editorship. It is a matter of great satisfaction for all of us who supported the mission of Performability Engineering over these 11 years. I like to thank them all for their kind support and good wishes, particularly, the Editorial Board members who whole-hearted gave their unflinching support in the face of constant demands on them by me. I also like to thank all the authors from 51 countries who published their papers in the IJPE over these 11 years. Lastly, I like to sincerely thank Rayomond Chinoy and Vinita Chinoy of Level9Solutions, USA, who offered generous support by way of hosting the website of IJPE (, 24/7 a week without any break over all these 11 years. Thanks are also due to my colleague Dr. Sanjay Chaturvedi of Reliability Engineering Centre, IIT Kharagpur, India, who helped IJPE all these years in the editorial work maintaining the time constraints. I would also like to thank the Printer of IJPE for last 11 years, namely, Milestone Information Services (P) Ltd., Jaipur, particularly Mr. Sanjay Jain and his staff for the excellent printing of the journal over these years.

    IJPE will still continue to publish papers in the areas of Quality, Reliability, Maintainability/Maintenance, Safety and Risk and Sustainability from January 01, 2016 under the ownership of Totem Publisher Inc, USA whose owner is Professor Eric Wong of University of Texas, Dallas, USA ( ),Professor & Director of International Outreach & Director of Advanced Research Center on Software Testing and Quality Assurance. He is also the Vice President Vice President for Publications of the IEEE Reliability Society. From January 01, 2016, this journal will have two Co-Editor-in-Chiefs, namely, Dr. Dianxiang Xu, Professor and Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Computer Science at Boise State University, USA (, and Dr. V.N.A. Naikan, -the current Assistant Editor-in-Chief of IJPE and Professor and Head of the Reliability Engineering Center at IIT Kharagpur, India ( ). Also the Editorial Board shall remain unchanged at least for next three years. I am sure the IJPE would continue to flourish under the leadership of these people and will be printed and published timely with excellence in the years to come.

    Coming to the theme of the present special issue, which is, Risk Communication and Risk Management, we invited Professor Ortwin Renn (a well-known authority in the area) and Dr. Pia--Johanna Schweizer of ZIRIUS, Senior Researcher at the Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at Stuttgart University in Germany, to guest-edit this special issue and the result is before you to see in this issue.

    Risk Communication is the exchange of information and opinions, and establishment of an effective dialogue, among those responsible for assessing, minimizing, and regulating risks and those who may be affected by the outcomes of those risks. Effective communication of information and opinion on risks associated with real or perceived hazards is an essential and integral component of the risk analysis process. Risk communication may originate from official sources at international, national or local levels. It may also be from other sources such as industry, trade, consumers and other interested parties. In this context, interested parties may include government agencies, industry representatives, the media, scientists, professional societies, consumer organizations and other public interest groups and concerned individuals. The objective of risk communication is to:

    • Promote awareness and understanding of the specific issues under consideration during the risk analysis process, by all stakeholders and to promote consistency and transparency in arriving at and implementing risk management decisions; Provide a sound basis for understanding the risk management decisions proposed or implemented;
    • Contribute to the development and delivery of effective information and education programmes, when they are selected as risk management options;
    • Foster public trust and confidence while strengthening the working relationships and mutual respect among all stakeholders;
    • Promote the appropriate involvement of all interested parties in the risk communication process; and,
    • Exchange information on the knowledge, attitudes, values, practices and perceptions of interested parties concerning risks under consideration.

      The problems in risk communication involve how to reach the intended audience, to make the risk comprehensible and relatable to other risks, and how to predict the audience's response to the communication, etc. A main goal of risk communication is to improve collective and individual decision making. Risk assessment is the process that is used to quantitatively or qualitatively estimate and characterize risk. Before a formal risk assessment is initiated, appropriate information must be obtained from interested parties to prepare a “risk profile”. Risk management is the weighing and selecting of options and implementing controls as appropriate to assure an appropriate level of protection. Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of hazardous events. This is followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of hazardous events.

      I like to thank the Guest Editors of this issue, Dr. Pia-Johanna Schweizer and Professor Ortwin Renn, who helped ensure quality papers for this issue. My thanks are also due to reviewers, who helped in maintain timeliness in reviewing process. I would also like to thank the authors whose contributions are included in this issue and for maintaining the dead-lines. It is hoped that this issue of IJPE will provide impetus to research in this important area.

      Guest Editorial
      2015, 11(6): 521-522.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p521.mag
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      Many of the most pressing problems of modern societies are posed by systemic risks. Systemic risks are at the crossroads between natural events, economic, social and technological developments and policy driven actions, both at the domestic and the international levels. These new risks are multidimensional and highly complex with respect to their ripple effect on different levels of the physical and social world. Systemic risks are often global in their consequences, interconnected with other risk sources and processes (adding complexity to the attempt of causal modeling), stochastic in their model structure and most often non-linear in the functional relationships. They defy common sense and are often counterintuitive. Therefore, innovative approaches are essential for governing and communicating these risks. Adequate governance approaches require coordination across regulatory agencies and a mutual exchange of information between science, politics, the private sector and civil society.

      This special issue includes contributions that explore the complex risk situation at the interface between society, economy and technology. The emphasis here is on governance and communication. Risk governance is a broad concept that refers to assessing, managing, communicating and regulating risks under conditions of complexity, uncertainty and social ambiguity. Policy-making for systemic risk is particularly challenging because scientific uncertainty and social ambiguity regarding values and attitudes require an essential broadening of the risk concept to include input from major stakeholders and affected publics. Various kinds of information, such as scientific research, local knowledge, values, public preferences and attitudes, need to be collected and taken into account. Furthermore, these different inputs need to be condensed in a deliberative process and channeled into legally prescribed governance procedures. Due to the counter-intuitive character of systemic risks, a major task of adequate governance is risk communication. First, one needs to address the complex, stochastic and non-linear properties of systemic risks, second one needs to explore public preferences for future actions in the light of high complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. This is a highly challenging task.

      The special issue aims to provide an up-to-date overview of the potentials and limitations of risk governance and risk communication for competent, effective and socially acceptable policy-making with respect to systemic risks. The contributions in this volume are all inspired by the common task to provide better insights into the nature of systemic risk and its governance and to draw inferences from these analyses to articulate effective and efficient communication and management strategies.

      The first paper by Sahliger investigates Risk Governance and Risk Communication in Air Traffic Management.

      The second paper by Mahmoudi and Knierim deals with risk communication for farmers’ adaptation to climate change. The contribution investigates risk governance as a new task for agricultural advisory services. An evaluation of the social implications of partitioning and transmutation of nuclear waste is presented in the third paper by Weitze et al.

      The fourth paper by Wolff focuses on risk perception and risk communication in medical robotics.

      The fifth paper by Fuchs and Gazsó considers risk governance of nano materials. The authors draw on a case study from Austria. The sixth paper by Droste-Franke offers a systems-web approach for better-informed risk governance.Matschullat et al. provide an inter-hemispheric perspective on environment and energy in the seventh contribution.

      Finally, in the eighth paper, Webler et al. present a framework for characterizing landscapes of regional risk governance.The Guest Editors would like to thank all of the authors for their contributions in this special issue and the reviewers for their time in providing the authors with constructive feedback.

      We would particularly like to thank the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Krishna B. Misra, for his initiative and assistance from time to time. We also like to express our gratitude to the editorial team who worked on the publication of this special issue.

      Pia-Johanna Schweizeris a senior researcher at ZIRIUS, the Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at Stuttgart University in Germany. Pia-Johanna Schweizer has studied Sociology and English Studies at Stuttgart University and University of Aberdeen. Schweizer holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stuttgart University. She coordinates Research Field E “Planning Governance” within the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS ( and leads project E2 “Potentials and limits of discursive approaches”. From 2013 until 2014 she has been a visiting scholar at Michigan State University. Since 2015, Schweizer is a Fellow of the Asian Energy Studies Center of Hong Kong Baptist University. Her research interests include theories of deliberative democracy, stakeholder involvement and public participation, governance of energy systems and energy transitions as well as climate change governance. Schweizer teaches a master course on stakeholder involvement and public engagement at Stuttgart University. Since 2012 she is actively engaged in Society for Risk Analysis Europe’s executive committee. Currently, she is treasurer of SRA Europe.


      Ortwin Renn serves as full professor for Environmental Sociology and Technology Assessment and as Dean of the Economic and Social Science Department at the University of Stuttgart (Germany). He directs ZIRIUS at Stuttgart University and the non-profit company DIALOGIK, a research institute for the investigation of communication and participation processes in environmental policy making. Ortwin Renn has a doctoral degree in social psychology from the University of K?ln (Cologne). His career included teaching and research positions at the Jülich Nuclear Research Center, Clark University (Worcester, USA), the Swiss Institute of Technology (Zürich) and the Center of Technology Assessment (Stuttgart). Renn is primarily interested in risk governance, political participation as well as technical and social change towards sustainability. Renn has published more than 30 books and 250 articles, most prominently the monograph “Risk Governance” (Earthscan: London 2008).

      Email: ortwin.renn@

      Original articles
      Risk Governance and Risk Communication in Air Traffic Management (ATM)
      2015, 11(6): 523-531.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p523.mag
      Abstract    PDF (172KB)   
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      The purpose of this article is the demonstration that risk governance and mitigation in aviation can only be comprehended as an abstract concept on a higher level where several mitigating actions have to be derived from. Due to the fact that the European airspace is tight, there is a new approach to effectiveness, on the one hand, and to safety issues, on the other one: the Single European Sky Project (SES). Thinking about airspaces and aviation safety means thinking about a closely cooperating Europe with various member states together with a variety of different stakeholders. Risk governance is a challenge to be met on every single level, be it local, national or throughout Europe. Risk assessment and mitigation is an ongoing process for all participants in aviation. It demands a close cooperation and a thoroughly done communication between all parts in aviation on every level in order to identify the weaknesses in the system and create sufficient safety barriers.

      Received on January 20, 2015, revised on July 30, 2015
      References: 14
      Risk Communication for Farmers’ Adaptation to Climate Change: A New Task for Agricultural Advisory Services
      2015, 11(6): 533-547.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p533.mag
      Abstract    PDF (162KB)   
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      Decision making in agricultural production is a complex process in which many risks such as natural, economic and social ones need to be considered. Climate change is one important example for complex risks causing ambiguities. How can farmers be supported to pro-actively deal with and adapt to climate change? A comprehensive answer to this question can create a good potential for an improved risk communication and governance within agricultural sector. The aim of this paper is to conceptually argue farmers’ risk perceptions, roles and tasks that intervention agents such as agricultural advisory services may adopt in order to support farmers’ risk management and adaptation to climate change. Two specific approaches namely ‘risk communication’ and ‘social learning’ in the frame of risk governance were discussed followed by conclusions drawn on cross-cutting insights and deficits in research and practice.

      Received on January 20, 2015, revised on July 05, 2015
      References: 96
      Partitioning and Transmutation of Nuclear Waste: Evaluation of Societal Implications
      2015, 11(6): 549-558.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p549.mag
      Abstract    PDF (123KB)   
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      The technology of Partitioning and Transmutation (P&T), which could be used to convert part of the long-lived high-level radioactive substances contained in spent fuel rods into shorter-lived fission products, is currently under research and development. It could provide one means of reducing the long-term hazard potential of heat-generating waste.

      In an interdisciplinary project the technological and societal risks and opportunities of P&T have been discussed by means of four societal development scenarios, all of which presuppose that Germany opts out of the use of nuclear power. This risk appraisal with the combination of risk and concern assessment is one important aspect (besides risk management, communication etc.) for the risk governance of nuclear power. The objective was to work out a factual, balanced basis on which to decide Germany’s future position on matters of P&T research.

      This contribution characterizes systemic risks and stresses of the political ambiguity associated with P&T. It discusses the societal methodology and the results of this project with regard to the situation in Germany and Europe in general.

      Received on January 21, 2015, revised on July 06, 2015
      References: 13
      Risk Perception and Risk Communication in Medical Robotics
      2015, 11(6): 559-567.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p559.mag
      Abstract    PDF (105KB)   
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      In the following there will be a presentation of a new highly topical, meaningful and continuously growing research field for risk perception and risk communication: medical robotics. A specific upstream mediation of risk perception is indispensable to successfully communicating risks as well as opportunities. There will be answers to the question how the definition of risk communication should be adjusted to medical robotics – especially surgical and rehabilitation/care robots - in order to give the public a feeling of safety and an high degree of risk maturity. The current scientifically verified aspects of risk perception and communication need to be expanded or rather adapted to the subject of medical robotics, as well as to lead an intensive debate with them.

      Received on January 31, 2015, revised on July 30, 2015
      References: 22
      Nano Risk Governance: The Austrian Case
      2015, 11(6): 569-576.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p569.mag
      Abstract    PDF (138KB)   
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      We examine the role of the Technology Assessment in Austrian nanotechnology governance. Within the Austrian debate on nanotechnology focusing mainly on environmental, health and safety issues within the limits of regulation practise, TA fulfils its role as a facilitator of multi-stakeholder dialogues and a communicator of relevant information on nanotechnology to several interest groups, mainly authorities. As integral part of most of the safety relevant nanotechnology activities in Austria, the role of TA - in form of the specific project NanoTrust - can be characterized as tool for anticipatory risk management according to national and international risk management standards, as element in conducting responsible research and innovation (RRI), and as representing an “honest broker” of scientific information.

      Received on January 28, 2015 and revised on August 12, 2015
      References: 21
      The Systems-Web Approach for Better-Informed Risk Governance
      2015, 11(6): 577-587.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p577.mag
      Abstract    PDF (216KB)   
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      One of the prerequisites for successful risk governance is reliable knowledge about the most striking interconnections between circumstances. System studies try to provide respective insights. However, not all can keep what they promise. In this study the systems-web approach is introduced which, applied in the right way, can serve to reveal the strength of the structure of existing studies with respect to specific purposes. Thus, it can help to increase transparency and to show the respective significance of studies. The potential of the approach is demonstrated with applications on energy system analyses, investigating the completeness and details of aspects covered in scenario studies and investigating the informative value of selected studies with respect to energy storage demand in future energy supply systems.

      Received on January 31, 2015, revised on July 22, 2015
      References: 7
      An Interhemispheric Perspective on Environment and Energy
      2015, 11(6): 589-603.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p589.mag
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      Risk perception and communication are amongst the most critical topics of our time, if governance is to be successful in helping to circumnavigate the identified complex risks and “wicked” problems. But is there significant dissent within the scientific community about the pressing global environmental issues and energy challenges? Are the related risks perceived differently even amongst specialists from the northern and southern hemispheres, such as Europe and Australasia? We argue that there is a strong agreement within the scientific community on the problems that we face and that we share a similar vision for the challenges that should be prioritised.

      So why is the broader community so slow to respond? Clearly there is a discrepancy between “us” and “them” in the risks perceived. It is our responsibility as well-informed scientists to bridge the gap and faithfully communicate with governments, industry and the public worldwide so that we can promote good governance and evidence-based decision-making.

      Received in revised form July 27, 2015
      References: 28
      Characterizing Landscapes of Regional Risk Governance
      2015, 11(6): 605-618.  doi:10.23940/ijpe.15.6.p605.mag
      Abstract    PDF (215KB)   
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      In a world of increasingly complex and tightly coupled systems, hazard managers face new challenges of interconnecting hazards. Hazards associated with these risk systems cannot be managed in isolation. A plurality of actors each with their peculiar interests, abilities, and constraints engage in individual and coordinated actions in the context of multiple and sometimes overlapping political and institutional boundaries. This paper attempts to simplify and make sense of this complex risk environment by using the notion of a decision landscape. A decision landscape in a conceptual space to locate potential actions, implications of such actions, actors, purposes, resources, and scene. Using the example of hydraulic fracturing in the United Sates we suggest how a risk decision landscape can be structured and populated with information relevant to risk managers.

      Received on February 10, 2015, revised on July 31, 2015
      References: 56
    ISSN 0973-1318