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3Rs missing: animal research without scientific value is unethical

The scientists in biomedical research are increasingly worried about the growing number of rules and regulations that they have to comply with. Daniel Strech and Ulrich Dirnagl in a recent BMJ publication provide arguments to expand the conventional 3Rs to 6Rs. This is obviously notto make scientists’ lives more complicated. In fact, following their recommendations should make scientists’ daily job less stressful and the results of the work more consenting.
The 3R concept is very well known for those involved in animal research. It has been repeatedly said that, while these 3R principles are very important, they do not always produce the desired effect. For example, it has often been ignored that the Reduction principle cannot be administered at the cost of data quality or the quality of the conclusions that can be drawn from the data sets obtained (see HERE). Thus, Robustness, the fourth R, adds a very important counter-balance against underpowered studies. The fifth R, Registration, can be implemented using a public resource such as preclinicaltrials.eu or a proprietary tool supporting pre-specification of key aspects of study design and analysis. Together with the sixth R, Reporting, registration helps other scientists to save resources, avoid unnecessary experimentation and focus efforts on robust research.

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