The elaboration of a compelling scientific case is an essential prerequisite for justifying the use of animals. Over the past few years there have been a number of important initiatives that have been aimed at raising the sometimes inadequate standard of reporting of animal experiments in the scientific literature.
The NC3Rs’ Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments – ARRIVE guidelines, for example, lay out criteria that should be met in reporting animal studies in order that their results and conclusions can be properly evaluated by readers. These criteria address a range of issues relating to transparency and validity of experimental design, the avoidance or minimisation of bias and the adequacy of statistical aspects of the study including statistical power and appropriate statistical analysis.
In light of these initiatives MRC has revised and updated its guidelines on what information needs to be provided to allow proper evaluation of the scientific strengths and weaknesses of applications for funding involving animal use. In some cases, adherence to the principles defined in this section will require additional resources, for example for animal identification such as microchipping, increased maintenance charges resulting from the randomisation procedure, or salary costs associated with obtaining statistical support. We recognise this and will support such costs where fully justified in the appropriate sections.
MRC now requires that sex be appropriately considered in research involving animals, cells and tissues. Applications involving animals, cells and tissues should plan to use both sexes unless there is a strong reason for not doing so, which should be detailed in the application.