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Cover of Guidance for the Description of Animal Research in Scientific Publications

Guidance for the Description of Animal Research in Scientific Publications


Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); .
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-21951-8ISBN-10: 0-309-21951-5


The committee (Committee on Guidelines for Scientific Publications Involving Animal Studies) believes that journal editors have a role to play in promoting the proper use of animals in research through the publication of adequate descriptions. The committee urges journal editors to actively promote effective and ethical research by encouraging the provision of sufficient information to enable assessment and interpretation of research findings and advancement of knowledge based on reproducible results.

This report provides journal editors, authors, and reviewers with guidance (and supporting references) for effective reporting of animal research in published articles based on adequate descriptions of

  • the research animal (section 3), with detailed information about the animals’ age, sex, weight, and life stage (3.1), source (3.2), genetic nomenclature (3.3), microbial/pathogen status (3.4), and preparation and assignment (including control groups)(3.5);
  • the research animal environment (sections 4 and, for aquatic animals, 6), with detailed information about the micro- and macroenvironment (4.4 and 6.1), diet (4.1 and 6.2),water (4.2), and housing (4.3 and 6.3);
  • basic animal methodology, including aspects of animal care and use that can affect research outcomes (section 5), with detailed information about experimental effects (5.1), administration of substances (5.2), use of infectious agents (5.3), sample acquisition (5.4), and euthanasia (5.5).

The ability to interpret, evaluate, and reproduce biomedical and other types of laboratory animal research and testing is a reasonable minimum standard for the assessment of effective reporting in research articles. Journal editors can substantially contribute to the achievement of this standard through the articulation of clear policies and criteria for their authors and reviewers. This report complements existing checklists and resources by providing guidance and scientific evidence for the specific types of information that should be included in research publications to promote the advancement of science involving animal studies. It also describes approaches to facilitate the provision of such information.


This study was supported by core funding for the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research from the National Science Foundation under contract DBI-0838150; the US Department of the Army under contract W81XWH-09-1-0664; the US Department of the Navy under contract N00014-05-G-0288, Task Order #21; and the Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health under contract N01-OD-4-2139, Task Order #221.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK84205PMID: 22379656DOI: 10.17226/13241


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