Collaborative modelling or participatory modelling? A framework for water resources management

Laura Basco-Carrera*, Andrew Warren, Eelco van Beek, Andreja Jonoski, Alessio Giardino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)
297 Downloads (Pure)


Decision Support Systems, and, more recently, participatory and collaborative modelling have emerged as a response to increased focus on stakeholder participation in modelling activities for certain fields like water resources management. Researchers and practitioners frequently use ‘buzzwords’ such as ‘participatory modelling’ and ‘collaborative modelling’. In some cases, both terms are used interchangeably, largely due to unclear distinction between them in literature. This article draws the line between participatory and collaborative modelling by using levels of participation and cooperation as conditioning dimensions. Based on this methodology, a new generic framework is presented. This framework can help identify determinant features of both modelling approaches currently used in water resources management. It permits analysis of these approaches in terms of context, specific use, information handling, stakeholder involvement, modelling team and means. The article concludes with an application of the framework to a collaborative modelling approach carried out for a groundwater study in the Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-110
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Collaborative modelling
  • Cooperation
  • Informed decision making
  • Participatory modelling
  • Stakeholder participation
  • Water resources management


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