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Research integrity

‘Research integrity’ is an overarching term relating to the standards to which research is done. It requires every individual to acknowledge their responsibilities as well as being accountable for adhering to legal and ethical principles, and achieving high standards in all aspects of research practice, including planning, conduct, analysis and dissemination.
 
With respect to the use of animals in science, research integrity encompasses aspects that impact upon: 

  • research conduct - how the actions of an individual involved in the care and use of animals can be influenced by legislation, policies, guidance, ethics, oversight, enforcement, training and assessment of competency.
     
  • openness and transparency - details of how the research is actually carried out and how the results it generates are communicated to the public and within the scientific community by individuals and organisations, including research establishments, funders, professional bodies and societies, NGOs and the scientific press.
     
  • research outputs - identifying, interpreting and utilising everything that the research produces, including knowledge, reports and papers, data, animal ‘models’, reagents, biological materials or technological resources and good 3Rs practices such as refined methods, efficient experimental design and analysis, and non-animal alternative methods.

Animal research integrity specifically requires a critical evaluation of the necessity and justification for animal use through effective ethical review, prioritising and supporting research to develop non-animal approaches or alternatives, and ensuring that the 3Rs principles of humane science are rigorously applied.

There are 12 main animal research integrity issues that currently have a significant impact on animal welfare and implementation of the 3Rs. Many of these relate to other aspects of our work including: validity; implementing the 3Rs; journal publication policies; sharing and archiving GA mice; and GA passports.

We have produced a discussion document which expands upon these 12 issues in more detail. To request a copy, email: research.animals@rspca.org.uk

 

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