Animal Research Working Group Releases Report
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group was charged with assessing and making recommendations to enhance the rigor, transparency, and translatability in animal research by improving the experimental design, optimizing translational validity, enhancing training, and increasing the transparency of research studies involving animal models. After 2 years, the ACD Working Group has recently released its findings.
The Working Group consisted of 13 external members and 10 Government members and was co-chaired by Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, Ph.D., and Barbara Wold, Ph.D. The group reported their recommendation, which now transfers to the NIH Director for consideration. “By their endorsement today, the ACD has provided a clear roadmap for NIH to enhance rigor and transparency in animal research,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins. “Given the complexity of these recommendations and their potential impact on the larger biomedical research ecosystem, my leadership team and I will take these recommendations under advisement to determine the best path forward.”
The Working Group’s final report is organized into 5 themes, each of which consisting of recommendations.
Improve Study Design and Data Analysis
Address Incomplete Reporting and Questionable Research Practices
Improve Selection, Design, and Relevance of Animal Models
Improve Methodological Documentation and Results Reporting
Measure the Costs and Effectiveness of Efforts to Improve Rigor, Transparency, Reproducibility, and Translatability
“Investigators need NIH’s support and active participation to increase the rigor and transparency of their research. NIH must obtain and commit sufficient financial resources toward improvements and also effectively use incentives and oversight in the grant application, review, and funding process,” the report states. “It can also uniquely help investigators by identifying and promulgating best practices, investing in strengthening the animal research statistical workforce, and working to educate the scientific community and the public about ongoing challenges and achievements.”