Best Practices in Animal Research

It’s important to acknowledge & work to address the bioethical, reproducibility, and translational challenges of animal research. Below are some tools and strategies we think can help:

1. When designing (or reviewing) an experiment ask yourself if the research is suitable (i.e., it is scientifically valid and follows the 3Vs: construct, internal, & external validity), necessary (i.e., there are no alternatively methods and the 3Rs have been implemented) and overall reasonable (the potential benefits to society outweigh the harms to the animals; Eggel & Wurbel, 2020)

2. To help enhance internal validity, be sure to follow NORECOPA’s PREPARE Checklist (see video below) & use NC3Rs Experimental Design Assistant.
3. To help enhance external validity & reproducibility, consider introducing systematic heterogenization of your animal subjects by incorporating sources of known biological variation (Voelkl et al., 2020).
4. To help transparency, reproducibility, and external validity, follow the NC3Rs ARRIVE Guidelines (see a webinar below for explanation) to ensure that your research is transparent and that researchers can reproduce any methods or findings.

For further reading, see the article, “Bioethical, reproducibility, and translational challenges of animal models” by Landi et al. 2001.

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