Studies of scientific papers reporting animal experiments have revealed many flaws in their design, which are generating considerable concern, not least among funders of research (1). These include, but are not limited to:
- Poor experimental design and risk of bias (2, 3), in particular lack of statistical power (4) and lack of blinding (5)
- Artefacts caused by extraneous environmental factors, such as effects of animal age (6), cage conditions (7, 8, 9), concomitant subclinical infections (10), food/water restriction (11, 12) or the sex of the experimenter (13) or animal (14)
- Poor compliance (15, 16) with guidelines for reporting animal experiments (17), including lack of details about anaesthesia and analgesia (18, 19)
- Poor reproducibility of animal studies (20, 21, 22) when a model is moved from, for example, academic environments to pharmaceutic industry. This was the subject of a seminar organised by funders in the UK in 2015 (23)
- Lack of translatability from animals to humans (24, 25)
- Reproducibility: seek out stronger science
- Big names in statistics want to shake up much-maligned P value
- Introducing Therioepistemology: the study of how knowledge is gained from animal research (Joe P. Garner et al.)
- The importance of being second (an Editorial in PLOS Biology acknowledging the value of complementary studies which replicate others)
- Threats to validity in the design and conduct of preclinical efficacy studies: a systematic review of guidelines for in vivo animal experiments (Valerie C. Henderson et al.)
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