Animal Welfare Requirements in Publishing Guidelines

Amanda Novak, Darren Shaw, Eddie Clutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Descriptions of measures taken to optimize animal welfare are often absent from scientific reports of animal experiments. One reason may be that journal guidelines inadequately compel authors to provide such information. In this study, online English language versions of the 'Guidelines to authors' (GTAs) from 54 national biomedical journals were examined for neutral (unrelated to welfare) and non-neutral keywords referring to: animal welfare; the '3Rs'; the ARRIVE (2010) guidelines, and regulations pertaining to animal experimentation. Journals were selected from nine countries (UK, US, China, Canada, India, Brazil, Germany, Japan and Australia) and seven biomedical specialties (oncology, rheumatology, surgery, pharmacology, medicine, anaesthesia and veterinary medicine). Total GTA word counts varied from 1137 to 31,609. The keyword count identified per category were expressed per myriad (10,000) of total word count. One-way analyses of variance followed by post hoc Tukey pairwise comparisons revealed greater non-neutral per myriad word counts for (a) veterinary GTAs compared with medicine, oncology, rheumatology or surgery; (b) British, compared with Australian, Canadian, German and Japanese GTAs; and (c) no differences between non-neutral categories. The English language versions of GTAs of British and veterinary medical journals contain more words associated with animal welfare, the 3Rs and the ARRIVE guidelines than those from eight other countries and six other medical specialities. The exclusion of 'national' language versions from analysis precludes attempts to identify national differences in attitudes to laboratory animal welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Article number236772221097825
Pages (from-to)561-575
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • animal welfare
  • ethics
  • 3Rs
  • journal publishing guidelines


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