One of the first stages in planning research which may involve the use of animals or animal tissue is to search the literature for possible non-animal alternatives, or ways in which to refine and reduce the use of animals in experiments for which there currently are no alternatives.
This is a legal requirement in many countries, including Norway. The EU Directive 2010/63 states clearly that the final goal is 'full replacement of procedures on live animals for scientific and educational purposes as soon as it is scientifically possible to do so' (recital 10).
The results of literature searches should include the following information:
- The databases and other sources used, and dates of access. If possible, use databases which generate unique URLs (web addresses) every time a search is performed, such as here on the Norecopa website. This facilitates repetition, documentation and evaluation of the search.
- The keywords and search components used.
- The information centres consulted.
The Norecopa website contains links to over 70 databases.
The training module EU52 "Searching for (existing) non-animal alternatives", and its instruction guide with links, available for free on the ETPLAS website, are highly recommended.
Many more links to specific guidance on literature searching, databases and systematic reviews are available in a separate section of this website.
- Searching for information on 3Rs and 3R Resources (a presentation by Michelle Hudson-Shore, FRAME)
- Developing in vitro methods and approaches for scientific and regulatory use: module EU60, available for free, on the ETPLAS website.
- TextBase: a database of textbooks and other literature within Laboratory Animal Science and related topics
- Meeting Requirements for Alternatives Searches: Information for IACUCs and Investigators (recording of a webinar by Kathleen Gregory, 2014)