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Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems Best Paper Award

About the Award

The journal Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems recognises excellence in research through the annual Best Paper Award. The award is given for the work published in the previous year that best meets the goal of the journal to publish work of long-lasting value in the study of civil engineering and environmental systems. There is no nomination process and all papers will be considered. The editors will make a decision on the award, and will call in members of the editorial board to assist in the case of potential conflicts of interest. Offers for sponsorship for the annual award will be considered. The first award was made for work published in 2019. For more information on making a submission to the journal, please visit the journal website.

About the 2020 Winners

Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems would like to announce a Best Paper Award winner for 2020 as chosen by the journal’s editors. The award goes to the paper ‘Bias and decision making – an overview systems explanation’ (Volume 37, Issue 1) by David Carmichael, along with the discussion by David Elms (Volume 37, Issue 3) and the author’s response.

Carmichael’s paper develops a solid theoretical foundation for inclusion of human factors into civil engineering systems. The paper classifies and systematically analyses human subjectivity. The paper by Carmichael analyses separate issues such as prejudice, optimism, conflict of interest, confirmation bias, and more with a systems analysis of model, constraints, and objective functions.

The discussion by Elms makes the important point that subjectivity is not inherently bad, and looks to refocus the paper away from the contested word of ‘bias’. Better management of many issues involving human subjectivity will require objective, in addition to subjective analysis, and this paper and discussion provide a way for other researchers to do so.

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