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Resources for enhancing rigor and reproducibility in animal research

By Meg Bouvier

I stay current on NIH happenings and I’d be delighted to keep you informed.

Here is some information for our followers who are involved in animal research. 


NIH is encouraging award recipients whose publications describe work with vertebrate animals and cephalopods to include the items outlined in ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) Essential 10 guideline. ARRIVE Essential 10 is a checklist of the 10 basic minimum items that must be included in publications describing animal research. The intent of including these items is to provide readers and reviewers with sufficient detail that allows them to evaluate the methodological rigor and to be able to reproduce the methods or findings.

The Essential 10 are: Study Design, Sample Size, Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria, Randomization, Blinding/Masking, Outcome Measures, Statistical Methods, Experimental Animals, Experimental Procedures, and Results. 

The ARRIVE 10 website includes explanations and examples of each item. The site also includes links to publications that authors can use to cite ARRIVE 10 in their own manuscripts.

Resources for Enhancing the Rigor of Animal Research

The Advisory Committee to the NIH Director’s (ACD) 2021 final report recommended ways for NIH to improve the rigor, reproducibility, and translatability of research involving animal models. Dr. Francis Collins, former NIH Director with whom I worked when he was Director of the Human Genome Project and National Human Genome Research Institute, emphasized the importance of this concept. Shortly after the 2021 report was released, he wrote, “The ability to reproduce biomedical research findings is foundational to the advancement of science and relies on rigorously designed and performed research studies. When a scientific finding can be reproduced by multiple scientists, it validates the accuracy of the data and ensures the study is ready to progress to the next phase of research.”

While not all animal models research will be successfully translated to human subjects, there are steps that scientists can take to improve the scientific process. The 2021 report yielded recommendations grouped into five themes:

  1.   Improve Study Design and Analytic Rigor
  2.   Address Bias, Incomplete Reporting and Questionable Research Practices
  3.   Improve Relevance and use of Animal Models
  4.   Improve Methodologic and Results Reporting
  5.   Measure and Evaluate Effectiveness and Costs

Additionally, researchers can explore these other resources:


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