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Shock Supports the Use of Animal Research Reporting Guidelines

Reynolds, Penny*; Wall, Piper; van Griensven, Martijn; McConnell, Kevin§; Lang, Charles; Buchman, Timothy

doi: 10.1097/SHK.0b013e31825f396c

*Emergency Medicine Department, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, Virginia; Surgery Education Department, Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa; Department of Trauma Surgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany; §Surgery Department, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; Cellular and Molecular Physiology Department, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania; and Center for Critical Care, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

SHOCK published its first policy statement on animal use in biomedical research in 1996 (1). In the accompanying editorial, Society President H. Richard Adams, PhD, DVM, appropriately identified the continuing real need to use animals as research models and emphasized the responsibility of all investigators for the “humane, appropriate, and judicious” use of animals (2). Dr Adams also recognized that the 1996 policy statement was to be a dynamic document, to be revisited and revised in accordance with evolving legal, societal, and scientific standards.

It is now 2012, and the scientific standards supported by SHOCK now include the use of research-type–specific reporting guidelines. In particular, the standards supported by SHOCK regarding animal-based research include reporting in accordance with the ARRIVE Guidelines (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments, (3, 4) (Table 1). This means that authors and reviewers will be expected to use the ARRIVE Guidelines when writing and reviewing papers involving animal use. It also means that authors and reviewers can expect SHOCK to want and accept inclusion of information listed in the ARRIVE Guidelines that authors and reviewers might not have included or assessed previously.

General reporting guidelines are not new. In fact, use of the now traditional “Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion” layout of scientific papers in the biomedical literature is use of a general reporting guideline (5). A variety of research-type–specific reporting guidelines are available; the ARRIVE Guidelines for reporting animal-based research are but one example (4). These specific reporting guidelines have been created by a scholarly approach and are being supported because pieces of information deemed of importance by investigators using the biomedical literature have often not been present in papers published in the past (3). Journal support of these specific reporting guidelines, therefore, is aimed at creating reporting process changes relative to past practices with a goal of improving the usefulness of the biomedical literature. For the desired reporting process improvements to occur, guidelines must be accessible, journal support of guidelines use must be present, and author knowledge of and confidence in journal support of guidelines use must also be present. Toward that end, SHOCK is stating its support of a requirement for authors and reviewers to read and use the ARRIVE Guidelines (4), an accessible, complete listing of what information should be present, when reporting animal-based research.

Undergoing the process change of using the ARRIVE reporting guidelines (4) as a specific, complete checklist of what information is expected to be in what parts of a manuscript concerning animal-based research will lead to direct benefits for readers, authors, reviewers, editors, and journals. For authors, having and using a clear checklist of what information needs to be reported will aid the experiment planning process. It should also aid the initial writing process, including the draft revising by fellow authors. For authors, reviewers, editors, and journals, having shared expectations concerning manuscript content will aid the submission, review, and acceptance process by decreasing the time and effort involved in creating, handling, and reviewing submissions and revisions. For readers and journals, having papers with an expected, structured, consistent reporting format will aid the reading, understanding, and possible citing process by simplifying the finding of specific items of interest within papers.

Beyond the direct benefits, widespread use of the ARRIVE consensus guidelines (4) for animal-based research reporting is expected to result in an increase in the transparency of the animal-based research planning and reporting process. This should help decrease publication bias against “negative” studies (6) and will increase the ability to effectively assess and use the information present in animal-based research reports. Increases in animal-based research transparency and decreases in publication bias should aid in reducing research waste (animals, time, money, etc) and may aid in translating research findings to clinical benefits.

For all of these reasons, SHOCK expects authors and reviewers to use the ARRIVE Guidelines (4) when writing and reviewing research involving animals. SHOCK joins a growing list of leading journals (7) with its endorsement of the ARRIVE Guidelines (4) and looks forward to helping its authors and reviewers as we work to improve biomedical research and the literature that reports it. The implementation of the ARRIVE Guidelines has been approved by the Laboratory Animal Issues Committee and Publications Committee as well as by the Shock Council and President.

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1. Shock Society. A policy statement on the use of animals in research. Shock 5 (1): 2, 1996.
2. Adams R. Editorial. Shock 5 (1): 3, 1996.
3. Kilkenny C, Browne WJ, Cuthill IC, Emerson M, Altman DG. Improving bioscience research reporting: the ARRIVE Guidelines for reporting animal research. PLoS Biol 8 (6): e1000412, 2010.
4. Kilkenny C, Browne WJ, Cuthill IC, Emerson M, Altman DG. The ARRIVE Guidelines. Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments. Available Accessed February 29, 2012.
5. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors [Internet]. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: manuscript preparation and submission: preparing a manuscript for submission to a biomedical journal. Available at: Accessed February 29, 2012.
6. Sena ES, van der Worp HB, Bath PMW, Howells DW, Macleod MR. Publication bias in reports of animal stroke studies leads to major overstatement of efficacy. PloS Biol 8 (3): e1000344, 2010.
7. National Center for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research (nc3rs) [Internet]. ARRIVE Guidelines. Available at: Accessed February 29, 2012.
©2012The Shock Society