Many new developments and initiatives have been introduced to improve the quality and translational value of animal research, and must continue with support from the wider scientific community. These are the conclusions of a new article in PLOS Medicine this week by Carlijn Hooijmans and colleagues from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands, who summarize these new developments.
Focusing on the quality of study conduct, reporting, and replication; systematic reviews and meta-analyses; and study registration, publication bias, and data sharing, the authors argue that systematic reviews of animal studies should be conducted routinely. Funding agencies should subsidize systematic reviews, not simply for transparency, but also to avoid waste of financial resources and unnecessary duplication of animal studies, they say, and an international register for animal studies should be established and funded.
"Improving the quality and translation of animal research requires co-operation from the wider scientific community, journals, researchers, regulators, funding bodies, peer reviewers and patients," conclude the authors.
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Hooijmans CR, Ritskes-Hoitinga M (2013) Progress in Using Systematic Reviews of Animal Studies to Improve Translational Research. PLoS Med 10(7): e1001482. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001482