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There are important scientific, legal and ethical reasons for optimising the quality of animal research and testing. Concerns about the reproducibility and translatability of animal studies are now being voiced not only by those opposed to animal use, but also by scientists themselves.Many of the attempts to improve reproducibility have, until recently, focused on ways in which the reporting of animal studies can be improved. Many reporting guidelines have been written. Better reporting cannot, however, improve the quality of work that has already been carried out - for this purpose better planning is required.Planning animal studies should involve close collaboration with the animal facility where the work is to be performed, from as early a stage as possible. In this way, weaknesses in the protocol will be detected and changes can be made before it is too late. Improved planning must focus on more than the “mathematical” elements of experimental design such as randomisation, blinding and statistical methods. This should include focus on practical details such as the standard of the facility, any need for education and training, and all the factors which can improve animal welfare. The PREPARE ( Planning Research and Experimental Procedures on Animals: Recommendations for Excellence ) checklist was developed to help scientists be more aware of all the issues which may affect their experiments. The checklist is supported by comprehensive webpages containing more information, with links to the latest resources that have been developed for each topic on the list.
Smith, A. J. (2020). Guidelines for planning and conducting high-quality research and testing on animals. Laboratory Animal Research, 36(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42826-020-00054-0