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BMC Veterinary Research

Open Access

Letter to the editor - round table unites to tackle culture change in an effort to improve animal research reporting

  • Nicola J. Osborne1Email author,
  • Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga2,
  • Amrita Ahluwahlia3,
  • Sabina Alam4,
  • Matthew Brown5,
  • Hayley Henderson6,
  • Wim de Leeuw7, 8,
  • Joan Marsh9,
  • David Moher10,
  • Erica van Oort11,
  • Frances Rawle12,
  • Beat M. Riederer13, 14,
  • Jose Sanchez-Morgado15,
  • Emily S. Sena16,
  • Caroline Struthers17,
  • Matthew Westmore18,
  • Marc T. Avey19,
  • Rony Kalman20,
  • Annette O’Connor21,
  • Jan Sargeant22,
  • Anja Petrie23 and
  • Adrian Smith24
BMC Veterinary ResearchBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201713:314

Received: 23 October 2017

Accepted: 30 October 2017

Published: 7 November 2017


A round table discussion was held during the LAVA-ESLAV-ECLAM conference on Reproducibility of Animal Studies on the 25th of September 2017 in Edinburgh. The aim of the round table was to discuss how to enhance the rate at which the quality of reporting animal research can be improved. This signed statement acknowledges the efforts that participant organizations have made towards improving the reporting of animal studies and confirms an ongoing commitment to drive further improvements, calling upon both academics and laboratory animal veterinarians to help make this cultural change.

Main text

On Monday 25th September 2017 a round table meeting funded by LAL was held to discuss how to enhance the rate at which the quality of reporting animal research can be improved. This meeting took place during the LAVA-ESLAV-ECLAM conference on reproducibility in animal studies in Edinburgh. It was attended by individuals & organisations proactively working on this issue across Europe including research funders (MRC, Wellcome Trust, ZonMw), journals (EMBO, F1000Research, PLOS ONE, BMJ Open Science, BMC, British Journal of Pharmacology (BJP), The Lancet, Laboratory Animals) & others including ESLAV, EQUATOR, CAMARADES, SYRCLE, Responsible Research in Practice. NIHR were also present to share learning from the perspective of a funder of later phase clinical research.

All reiterated a commitment to drive improvements in the quality of animal research reporting to improve reproducibility, and call upon both academics and laboratory animal veterinarians to help drive this cultural change. In our experience relevant and useful training in experimental design, planning, reporting and data sharing is not universal within academic institutions, despite the perception that it might be. This must change, and academic institutions need to act now if scientists are to be skilled in the conduct of reproducible and reliable animal studies.

Yours Faithfully.

Round table participants: Nicola J Osborne* (Responsible Research in Practice & SYRCLE ambassador), Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga* (SYRCLE & ECLAM), Amrita Ahluwalia (British Journal of Pharmacology), Sabina Alam (F1000Research), Matthew Brown (Wellcome Trust), Hayley Henderson (BMC Veterinary Research), Wim de Leeuw (University of Utrecht), Joan Marsh (The Lancet & EASE), David Moher (Centre for Journalology, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute), Erica van Oort (ZonMw), Frances Rawle (Medical Research Council), Beat Riederer (Laboratory Animals), Jose Sanchez-Morgado (ESLAV), Emily Sena (CAMARADES & BMJ Open Science), Caroline Struthers (EQUATOR), Matt Westmore (National Institutes for Health Research).

* Co-organisers of the round table meeting.

Supporters: Marc Avey (Canadian CAMARADES group & SYRCLE ambassador), Rony Kalman (ECLAM), Annette O’Connor and Jan Sargeant (MERIDIAN), Anja Petrie (LAVA), Adrian Smith (Norecopa).


Authors’ contributions

All authors read and approved the final letter.

Competing interests

Hayley Henderson is the Editor for BMC Veterinary Research.

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Authors’ Affiliations

Responsible Research in Practice, Horsham, UK
Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
Faculty of 1000, London, UK
Wellcome Trust, London, UK
BMC Veterinary Research, BioMed Central, London, UK
Animal Welfare Body Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
, Utrecht, The Netherlands
The Lancet Psychiatry, London, UK
Centre for Journalology, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, The Ottawa Hospital - General Campus, Ottawa, Canada
ZonMw, The Hague, The Netherlands
Medical Research Council, London, UK
Platform of Morphology, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Centre for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of the Canton Vaud, Lausanne-Prilly, Switzerland
Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Nuffield Dept. of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), University of Oxford, Botnar Research Centre, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, UK
National Institute for Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
ICF, Durham, USA
Authority for Biological and Biomedical Models, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalém, Israel
Lloyd Vet Med Center Rm 2424, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, USA
Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, and Department of Population Medicine, 2502 Stewart Building, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
The University of Aberdeen, Medical Research Facility, Aberdeen, UK
Norecopa, c/o Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway


© The Author(s). 2017