Federal policy requires consideration of alternatives (in vitro systems, computer simulations, and/or mathematical models) to reduce or replace the use of research animals whenever possible. The 3Rs is an internationally accepted approach for researchers to use when designing their studies and the literature search is the standard for achieving that goal. All protocols are required to include a literature search for alternatives and protocol approval is more likely when more than one search engine is employed (ex: Web of Science and PubMed).

The Legal Basis

Replacement refers to methods that avoid using animals.

Refinement refers to modifications of husbandry or experimental procedures to enhance animal well-being and minimize or eliminate pain and distress.

Reduction involves strategies for obtaining comparable levels of information from the use of fewer animals or for maximizing the information obtained from a given number of animals (without increasing pain or distress) so that in the long run, fewer animals are needed to acquire the same scientific information.

For help conducting your literature search, you may contact the Life Sciences Librarian Hope Lappen.

For additional help with your literature search or accessing alternate databases, contact the Animal Welfare Information Center at (301) 504-6212.