Why animal research needs reporting guidelines: improving ethics and translation

This week PLoS Biology publishes a Perspective and related editorial discussing the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) guidelines, aimed towards clearer reporting of animal research in the peer-reviewed literature. The initiative builds on previous research, published in PLoS ONE that examined the quality of study design and reporting of animal experimentation in a cohort of 300 published papers. That research study found that published articles rarely described the study hypothesis, the sex or age of animals included in the experiments, or randomization or blinding procedures aimed at reducing bias.
The ARRIVE guidelines provides a set of 20 detailed recommendations for reporting different aspects of the conduct of animal research, and an outline checklist for authors to use in preparing their papers. The guidance follows on from existing reporting initiatives in medical research, such as CONSORT (for randomized trials) and PRISMA (for systematic reviews and meta-analyses). All PLoS journals will be including a link to the ARRIVE recommendations in their author guidelines and encouraging authors to refer to these when preparing their papers.

In the accompanying editorial , Catriona MacCallum emphasises the hope that the guidelines will help ensure “a better duty of care to the animals used in research…. and ensure that these studies add meaningfully to the scientific record”.

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