Literature searches and Systematic Reviews of published animal studies

Good literature searches are an integral part of planning animal research and testing, as indicated in the PREPARE guidelines. Some core resources are cited here. The section of the Norecopa website on databases and guidelines will also be helpful.

The EURL ECVAM Search Guide
How to conduct a literature search by Alice Tillema, Radboud University
Finding 3Rs information: a needle in a haystack? (practical advice from Utrecht University)
Database searches and resources for non-animal methods (a presentation by Michelle Hudson-Shore, FRAME)

Systematic reviews of published animal experiments are a useful aid in planning research and can also be used to extract new conclusions from experiments which have already been performed (so-called Synthesis of Evidence), thereby avoiding the need for new ones.

(SYstematic Review Centre for Laboratory animal Experimentation) at Radboud Medical University Center, Nijmegen has produced an excellent video explaining the principles behind systematic reviews.

Two presentations about systematic reviews from members of SYRCLE at the EUSAAT 2016 congress :

Systematic Review Toolbox (SR Toolbox)

Systematic reviews in animal research: Launch of the CAMARADES-NC3Rs Systematic Review Facility (SyRF) 

Free e-learning on systematic reviews (use the registration code: syrcle)

The Evidence-Based Research Network

The University of Bergen's Vivarium and Norecopa arranged a workshop in Voss, Norway on 27-28 May 2015 entitled Systematic Reviews and Harm-Benefit Assessment of Animal ExperimentsThe workshop gave theoretical and practical training in how to conduct literature searches and systematic reviews of the laboratory animal science literature. In addition, it gave an introduction to the harm-benefit assessment of animal experiments. Documentation of literature searches and harm-benefit assessment are two requirements of EU's Directive 2010/63. The theoretical and practical training in systematic reviews were led by representatives of SYRCLE. The discussion of harm-benefit assessment was led by Dr. Penny Hawkins, Head of the Research Animals Department at the RSPCA, UK and Dr. Aurora Brønstad, University of Bergen, who was the co-chair of an AALAS-FELASA working group on this subject. Advice on literature searching and available databases was provided by Adrian Smith. Several of these resources have been produced by Norecopa. The workshop took place at Fleischer's Hotel, Voss (more information about the workshop). Participants brought their own personal computers with the program Review Manager 5 from the Cochrane Collaboration installed.

The organisers gratefully acknowledge financial support for this workshop from the Research Council of Norway.


Other resources

Peer review training and guides
Software tools for literature screening in systematic reviews in biomedical research
The development and evaluation of an online application to assist in the extraction of data from graphs for use in systematic reviews

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