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IACUC: Searching for Alternatives: Reporting Guidelines

This guides helps you search the literature for alternatives to painful and distressful procedures in animal research

What is a reporting guideline?

Reporting guidelines (sometime referred to as standards) are structured tools that provide a list of information needed to ensure replicability and transparency of research. Following guidelines for animal experiments will help increase the quality of the literature since researchers can replicate experiments and build upon published work (Altman and Simera 2014, Nicholls et al. 2016, Han et al. 2017). 

Reporting guidelines used in animal research

Name of Guideline Description

Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE 2.0, 2020)

The Explanation and Elaboration for the ARRIVE guidelines 2.0 were originally published in PLOS Biology doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000411 under a CC-BY license.

Checklist designed to be used when submitting manuscripts describing animal research.

Gold Standard Publication Checklist (GSPC) 

Hooijmans CR, Leenaars M & Ritskes-Hoitinga M (2010): A gold standard publication checklist to improve the quality of animal studies, to fully integrate the three Rs, and to make systematic reviews more feasible. ATLA 38(2): 167-182. doi: 10.1177/026119291003800208

Some overlap with ARRIVE, asks for more detail in husbandry techniques for planning, designing, and performing animal experiments

Guidance for the Description of Animal Research in Scientific Publications

National Research Council (US) Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. (2011). Guidance for the Description of Animal Research in Scientific Publications. National Academies Press (US). doi: 0.17226/13241

Guidance for effective reporting of animal research

Minimal information for publication of experimental pathology data (MINPEPE)

Scudamore, C. L., Soilleux, E. J., Karp, N. A., Smith, K., Poulsom, R., Herrington, C. S., Day, M. J., Brayton, C. F., Bolon, B., Whitelaw, B., White, E. S., Everitt, J. I., & Arends, M. J. (2016). Recommendations for minimum information for publication of experimental pathology data: MINPEPA guidelines. The Journal of pathology, 238(2), 359–367.

Builds on ARRIVE plus minimum information needed to allow assessment of pathology data gathered from animal tissues

Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology - Veterinary (STROBE-Vet) Statement

Sargeant, J. M., O'Connor, A. M., Dohoo, I. R., Erb, H. N., Cevallos, M., Egger, M., Ersbøll, A. K., Martin, S. W., Nielsen, L. R., Pearl, D. L., Pfeiffer, D. U., Sanchez, J., Torrence, M. E., Vigre, H., Waldner, C., & Ward, M. P. (2016). Methods and Processes of Developing the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology-Veterinary (STROBE-Vet) Statement. Journal of food protection, 79(12), 2211–2219.

Modification of Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement. Guidance for the reporting of observational studies related to animals. Guidance for the reporting of observational studies related to animals

Randomized controlled trials for livestock and food safety (REFLECT) statement 

O'Connor, A. M., Sargeant, J. M., Gardner, I. A., Dickson, J. S., Torrence, M. E., Dewey, C. E., Dohoo, I. R., Evans, R. B., Gray, J. T., Greiner, M., Keefe, G., Lefebvre, S. L., Morley, P. S., Ramirez, A., Sischo, W., Smith, D. R., Snedeker, K., Sofos, J. N., Ward, M. P., Wills, R., … Consensus Meeting Participants (2010). The REFLECT statement: methods and processes of creating reporting guidelines for randomized controlled trials for livestock and food safety. Journal of food protection73(1), 132–139.

Modification of the CONsolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement for reporting randomized controlled trials in human medicine

Planning Research and Experimental Procedures on Animals: Recommendations for Excellence (PREPARE)

Smith, A. J., Clutton, R. E., Lilley, E., Hansen, K., & Brattelid, T. (2018). PREPARE: guidelines for planning animal research and testing. Laboratory animals, 52(2), 135–141.

Guideline for planning animal research

NC3Rs The Experimental Design Assistant (EDA)

Percie du Sert, N., Bamsey, I., Bate, S. T., Berdoy, M., Clark, R. A., Cuthill, I., Fry, D., Karp, N. A., Macleod, M., Moon, L., Stanford, S. C., & Lings, B. (2017). The Experimental Design Assistant. PLoS biology, 15(9), e2003779.

To helps researchers design reliable and reproducible experiments.



Altman, Douglas G, and Iveta Simera. 2014. "Using reporting guidelines effectively to ensure good reporting of health research."  Guidelines for reporting health research: A user’s manual. Hoboken: Wiley:32-40.

Nicholls, Stuart G, Sinéad M Langan, Eric I Benchimol, and David Moher. 2016. "Reporting transparency: making the ethical mandate explicit."  BMC medicine 14 (1):1-3.

Han, SeungHye, Tolani F. Olonisakin, John P. Pribis, Jill Zupetic, Joo Heung Yoon, Kyle M. Holleran, Kwonho Jeong, Nader Shaikh, Doris M. Rubio, and Janet S. Lee. 2017. "A checklist is associated with increased quality of reporting preclinical biomedical research: A systematic review."  PLOS ONE 12 (9):e0183591. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183591