Over the past decades, water quality models have become unique tools in the management of aquatic resources. A consequence of their widespread application is the significant number of models now available. Available methodologies to compare models provide limited support for their choice in the first place, especially to end-users or modelers with limited experience. Here we propose a method to assist in the selection of a particular model from a set of apparently similar models. The method is termed ScoRE, as it grades models according to three main aspects: Scope (aim, simulated processes, constituents, etc.), Record (reference to the model in publications, its range of applications, etc.), and the Experience of using the model from the user perspective (support material, graphical user interface, etc.). End-users define the criteria to be evaluated and their relative importance, as well as the conditions for model exclusion. The evaluation of models is still performed by the modelers, in open discussion with end-users. ScoRE is a complete approach, as it provides guidance not only to exclude models but also to select the most appropriate model for a particular situation. An application of this method is provided to illustrate its use in the choice of a model. The application resulted in the definition of 18 criteria, where 6 of these were defined exclusively by the end-users. Based on these and the relative importance of each criterion, ScoRE produced a ranking of models, facilitating model selection. The results illustrate how the contributions from modelers and end-users are integrated to select a model for a particular task.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited