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National Research Council (US) Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. Guidance for the Description of Animal Research in Scientific Publications. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.

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

Guidance for the Description of Animal Research in Scientific Publications.

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7Summary and Conclusions

The interpretation, evaluation, and reproducibility of research are a cornerstone of scientific progress that depends on the publication of adequate and specific information about all relevant aspects of the reported study. Considerable variation in the amount of information required by scientific publications and reported by authors undermines this basic scientific principle and results in the unnecessary use of animals and other resources in failed efforts to reproduce study results.

The editors of scientific publications have a role to play in promoting high-quality research reporting by adopting tailored guidelines for their authors and reviewers to ensure adequate descriptions that enable assessment and replication of the reported study. That said, the committee members recognize that editors, reviewers, and authors have numerous claims on their time and attention; that a one-size-fits-all approach for articles and journals is unrealistic and unreasonable; and that space may be limited in print journals. To address these considerations, journal editors may consider the following options:

  • Journals provide links on their websites (e.g., in their instructions to authors and reviewers) to this report and/or other resources and checklists.
  • Procedural details and data are published, after review, in an online article appendix or journal-specific repository for such information.
  • Authors cite previous peer-reviewed publications that convey the appropriate methods and details and include specific descriptions only of changes relevant to the newly reported experiment. Supplemental information, if published, would include all the relevant details.

In addition, the ILAR website ( will indicate journals and, as applicable, sponsoring agencies that endorse/have adopted this and other guidelines for animal reporting.6

The purpose of this report is to serve as a resource for editors to consider in crafting policies to ensure the inclusion of adequate animal descriptions in published research articles. The report is not meant to be prescriptive but rather to complement existing checklists and other resources by providing guidance and scientific evidence for the specific types of information to be included in research publications in order to promote the advancement of science involving animal studies.



For example, the NC3Rs website includes such information for the ARRIVE guidelines.

Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK84213


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