Report Open Access a new online educational tool for improved 3R literature search

Sylvie Vullioud; Isabelle de Kaenel; Stefanie Schindler

Animal experimentation has to be indispensable. Researchers have to ascertain and to prove to the competent authority that the objective of their study cannot be accomplished using other methods than in vivo experiments. If animal experiments remain the only approach, it is then mandatory to use the minimum number of animals and to cause as little distress as possible. The way for achieving these goals is the 3R-concept,
Published 3R-methods, however, may remain unretrieved due to deficiencies in literature search and information retrieval skills, resulting in unnecessary animal experimentation/distress levels. In Switzerland, researchers aiming to be study directors of in vivo experiments have to attend a mandatory one-week course (the Module-2) which, since 2012, comprises a 3-hour training for 3R information search. An assessment of 176 researchers' case reports dating from 2012 to 2014 and made prior to the course unraveled numerous shortages in the reported 3R information search methodologies and strategies. For instance, less than 35% of researchers mastered basics of information retrieval such as keywords enrichment, Boolean operators or nesting, leading to poor results regarding precision and recall.
Consequently, in 2015, we designed the online course (including a test) to help researchers acquire this necessary knowledge. The passing of the test was a prerequisite for the participation in the Module-2 seminar. A first assessment of reports after implementation showed huge improvements.
We are convinced that our online course will contribute to the implementation of the 3R concept and to the scientific validity of research.

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  • Vullioud, Sylvie, & De Kaenel, Isabelle. (2015). 3R information retrieval self-reports by aspiring directors of animal experimentation [Data set]. Zenodo.
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