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animalstudyregistry.org

The animalstudyregistry.org is an online registry for animal studies, which was launched by the BfR’s German Centre for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R) in January 2019. Within the internationally accessible platform, researchers worldwide can register their research idea free of charge and protected by copyright even before they start the actual experiment. The preregistration of studies intends to increase the quality of preclinical science by making animal-based research more transparent. This way, scientists are supported in planning their studies and the research process will be mapped thoroughly. Additionally, animalstudyregistry.org contributes to the publication of study results that did not lead to the anticipated outcome. It is precisely these results that are often not published, even though they contain important information for other researchers to avoid the repetition of animal experiments already conducted in other laboratories.

Link to the website: animalstudyregistry.org

Grafik zu Animal Study Registry

Olevska, A., Bert, B., Schönfelder, G., Ebrahimi, L., Heinl, C. (2021) Ensuring Reproducible Research Requires a Support Infrastructure: The Value of Public Registries to Publishers. Science Editor 44:4-7, doi: 10.3659/SE-D-4401-4

Entry in the register helps to sort out ideas

The animalstudyregistry.org entry form was developed as a structured questionnaire following the widely accepted international ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines. The detailed questions help researchers sort through their ideas, develop the study design, and select the appropriate methods and statistical procedures. Registered studies can be embargoed for up to five years to prevent intellectual property theft.

Scientists who register are more credible

Animalstudyregistry.org not only supports the technical planning of a study. Scientists who register their experiments can also increase their credibility. They not only present the final results of their research project, but also show how they achieved these results. Since the goal of animalstudyregistry.org is better and more transparent – i.e. comprehensible - research, it was modeled after clinical trial registries: In most parts of the world, the approval of a new drug legally requires the registration of the corresponding approval studies in a clinical trial registry. The largest registry is the American Clinicaltrials.gov. It was launched in 2000 and by now lists more than 300,000 entries for clinical trials in which volunteers participate. Since 2004, the European Union has operated the EudraCT (European Union Drug Regulating Authorities Clinical Trials) registry, its public part is searchable by all interested parties via the EU Clinical Trials Registry. Medical journals now also require that the studies published by them are registered, making the registries practically an international requirement for clinical trials.

Animal welfare and good science go hand in hand

Good scientific practice and the protection of laboratory animals cannot be separated. According to an article in Nature magazine about animal study registries (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02676-4) an estimated one-third to one-half of all animal experiments are never published. This “great silence” not only biases scientific perceptions. It also means that animals are needlessly used up in experiments simply because the scientific community never learns about these studies and their results. In addition, during preregistration at animalstudyregistry.org, special attention is paid to housing conditions and refinement measures. Refinement of animal studies is part of the 3Rs principle and obliges researchers to reduce the suffering of laboratory animals to a necessary minimum. In this respect, by registering their studies on animalstudyregistry.org, scientists also commit themselves to animal welfare.

No obligation to register animal experiments

As all studies conducted in the European Union must be approved. Researchers have to submit an animal experiment application to the competent authorities. However, unlike clinical studies, the preregistration of animal studies is not required by law. The registration of a study in the animalstudyregistry.org is therefore voluntary and signals the researchers’ commitment and their high sense of responsibility to reconcile research and animal welfare.

Articles on the ASR

Heinl C, Scholman-Végh AMD,  Mellor D, Schönfelder G, Strech D, Chamuleau S, Bert B. PNAS Nexus, pgac016, https://doi.org/10.1093/pnasnexus/pgac016

Olevska A., Bert B., Ebrahimi L., Schoenfelder G., Heinl C. (2021) Sci Ed. 2021;44:4-7, doi: 10.36591/SE-D-4401-4

Bert B., Heinl C., Chmielewska, J. et al. (2019) PLoS Biol 17(10):e3000463, doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000463

Heinl C., Chmielewska J., Olevska A. et al. (2019) EMBO Reports 21(1):e49709, doi: 10.15252/embr.201949709

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