Better reporting of animal research is the aim of the ARRIVE Guidelines. LSTM’s Professor Paul Garner has been part of a team of senior researchers and science editors that have updated guidelines for the reporting of research and methods in scientific studies in animals, ARRIVE 2.0, launched in July 2020.
Professor Garner, Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG) and Director of the Research, Evidence and Development Initiative (READ-It), explained: “Good science means the reader must be able to scrutinise the research, with total transparency in methods and results. These updated guidelines are part of an international drive to ensure accountability, which has arisen from ethical concerns. Poor quality research or reporting is unethical and wastes animals; these approaches are important to up the game in animal research reporting.”
ARRIVE 2.0 is an update of guidelines developed in 2010, assembled by an international working group of funders, editors, researchers, and statisticians. The biggest shifts in the updated guidelines are: the prioritisation of the recommendations into two groups to simplify their use in practice, the ‘ARRIVE Essential 10’, which are the minimum to include in a manuscript to enable readers and reviewers to assess the reliability of the findings; and the complementary ‘Recommended Set’ that provide context to the study. The aim is for the scientific community to focus initial efforts on the ‘ARRIVE Essential 10’, with the recommended set subsequently adopted as best reporting practice.
A major barrier to full and transparent reporting of animal research is a lack of understanding about the importance of including information on experimental design and statistical analyses; for example, sample size calculations and strategies to minimise bias, and the consequences of omitting these key details. To address this, the guidelines are accompanied by an “explanation and elaboration” document, which describes the relevance of each item in the guidelines with examples of good practice taken from the literature.
Professor Garner continued: “ARRIVE 2.0 is part of a process of improving the quality of manuscripts and the science. It is very exciting that the guidelines include, in the recommended set, that the authors state whether a protocol describing the research design and analysis plan was prepared in advance and registered. This is an important principle of good science”.
See for more information on the guidelines a recent publication in PLoSBiol
The CIDG editorial base is at LSTM and has been in operation since 1994. It consists of over 600 authors from 52 countries and is supported by UK aid from the UK Government for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries (project number 300342-104).