New Website Offers Reporting Guidelines Involving Animal Research Studies

AMES, Iowa – Animals are the subjects of research for many reasons. Accurately reporting that research is a fundamental component of the process.

But there are a multitude of reporting guidelines researchers must follow.

A new website (https://meridian.cvm.iastate.edu) coordinated by Dr. Annette O’Connor, a faculty member in Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, aims to assist researchers not only to navigate the guidelines but improve the quality of reporting animal research.

Meridian (Menagerie of Reporting Guidelines Involving Animals) is a collection of reporting guidelines for research studies that involve animals. The website brings together in one location several publications that aim to help graduate students, post docs and faculty write better research reports.

“The goal of reporting guidelines is to improve the approach to reporting research studies so that the results can be used more fully,” said O’Connor, a professor in veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine. “Incomplete reporting makes it difficult to assess the internal and external validity of studies, so reporting guidelines address both concepts.”

The reporting guidelines in Meridian describe how to report randomized controlled trials, observational studies and experiments.

“We know that when working with animals, authors need to report unique information and through Meridian researchers can easily find the guideline that will help them write.”

Meridian includes the following resources:

·      ARRIVE is used for animal experiments in biomedical research

·      REFLECT relates to randomized controlled trials in livestock and food safety

·      STROBE-Vet guides authors through the observational studies that involve animals

·      PRISMA is for systematic reviewers

·      STARD is for researchers looking to report diagnostic test evaluations

O’Connor has focused her career on understanding how researchers can use study design and research synthesis methodologies to translate primary research findings into decision support tools for agencies. Her work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Pork Board and the European Union Food Safety Authority.