Scientists have put together a new set of guidelines to help in the design of studies that involve animals.
They hope the checklist will help to improve the quality of animal research around the world and raise the chances of discovering new medicines for people and animals.
The initiative is designed to complement existing schemes that target the reporting of findings from animal studies, such as the ARRIVE guidelines.
PREPARE – Planning Research and Experimental Procedures on Animals: Recommendations for Excellence – aims to help researchers plan animal studies that are safe and scientifically sound, with animal welfare as a key priority.
In addition to a checklist, the iniative provides access to online tools and links to the best available guidance on specific topics.
Professor Eddie Clutton at the University of Edinburgh, a co-author of the report from the University of Edinburgh, said: “
We are very excited about this means of offering scientists a comprehensive set of tools to increase the value and humanity of those experiments from which animals cannot yet be excluded. PREPARE should help scientists to significantly improve the quality of their work.
Experts hope the new scheme will promote best practice in the planning of new studies, helping to maximise the quality of such research around the world.
The PREPARE guidelines build upon guidance that was developed at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science over a 20-year period.
The quality of a study can never be better than the work put into planning and conducting it. In my experience of supervising scientists over the last 25 years, there are a host of small but essential details for success. These details are often not reported in scientific papers, but scientists won’t have a chance of repeating their experiments if they are not considered.