Open access to maximize the value of animal research

Key position statement

The scientific research community, including the public and private sector, is committed to maximising the value of data generated from animal research in order to enhance the design of future studies. This can be achieved by archiving non-competitive data derived from animal experiments in publicly accessible repositories, and by sharing protocols and data on the characteristics and optimal use of each animal model as widely as possible. This could potentially lead to the refinement of experimental protocols and the reduction of the number of animals used in research. It could also inform strategic decision-making regarding future academic and commercial research. Animal usage may also be reduced through wider use of animal repositories. Data, protocols and results from well designed and conducted research using animals should also be readily available in a curated, searchable form. Sharing research outputs will help to maximise the knowledge base resulting from research, improve research outcomes and avoid unjustified duplication of work using animals.

The scope of this commitment should extend to individual researchers, research institutions, research funders, publishers, industry and government departments, which fund and undertake research using animals.

Publishing results of animal experimentation in scientific journals:
  1. The approved guidelines for publication of research using animals including ARRIVE, ILAR, ICLAS and GSPC should be widely supported.
  2. Additional open access publications, or on line space in existing journals, for well-designed studies that do not support the initial hypothesis, and for 'verification'/'replication' studies should be provided.
  3. Published papers should include a clear statement on how data and materials related to the paper can be accessed.
  4. It should be made a condition of publication that where appropriate, raw data related to the publication are deposited in a recognised database to make this standard practice. E.g. sequence data.
  5. Funding bodies should require details of publication plans to be included in the proposals for work. There should be a requirement for all grants using animals to publish 'something' of journal quality, irrespective of whether the initial hypotheses have been supported or not.
  6. The research sector should create incentives for the publication of all results so that publication becomes normal practice. This could include developing a system where the number of times certain publications are accessed via a repository system is counted.
  7. Improve research identifiers (such as ORCID ) and develop citation incentives to acknowledge researchers who publish all of their findings.

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