Journal Support for ARRIVE Guidelines and Reporting Quality of Animal Welfare, Analgesia, or Anesthesia Articles

Vivian Leung,1 Frédérik Rousseau-Blass,1 Daniel S. J. Pang1

Objective The ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines, published in 2010, were developed to improve the quality of animal research reporting. We hypothesised that articles published in veterinary journals supporting the ARRIVE guidelines would show improved quality of reporting compared with nonsupporting journals.

Design We identified veterinary journals that were likely to publish articles on animal welfare, analgesia, and anesthesia, topics of focus owing to their importance to animal well-being and potential influence on translational research. We defined animal welfare studies as those reporting interventions to improve animals’ environmental or physical conditions (eg, housing, enrichment). We distinguished journals that described the guidelines in their Instructions to Authors (guideline supporters [SUPP], n=5) from those that did not (nonsupporters [nonSUPP], n=2).Studies were identified by manual search of tables of contents (title, abstract, and keywords). The 20 items of the ARRIVE checklist were categorized by 2 independent authors (V.L. and F.R.B.) as fully, partially, or not reported, with differences resolved by consensus. We then compared adherence to guideline items in articles published pre-ARRIVE (2009) and post-ARRIVE (2015) in SUPP and nonSUPP journals using an unequal variance t test, and compared the difference in change.

Results A total of 236 papers were included: 120 from 2009 (SUPP, n = 52; nonSUPP, n = 68) and 116 from 2015 (SUPP, n = 61; nonSUPP, n = 55). There was no statistically significant difference between journal type in the percentage of fully reported items in 2009 vs 2015 (Table). There were small, statistically significant increases in the percentage of reported items within journal type between 2009 and 2015, but no difference in the increase (absolute difference in change between nonSUPP and SUPP, 3.26%; 95% CI, −0.54% to 4.3%]; P = .09). No paper fully reported 100% of items on the ARRIVE checklist. Full reporting of several items was low across journals and years: study design (< 30%), sample size justification (< 15%), allocation to experimental groups (< 30%), housing and husbandry details (< 20%), and experimental animals details (< 25%).

Conclusions Journal support of ARRIVE guidelines did not result in improved reporting in this sample. The standard of reporting was low, reflecting a need for animal journals to not only support but more actively enforce adherence to the ARRIVE guidelines. Our results are in agreement with previous studies assessing reporting standards pre-ARRIVE and post-ARRIVE publication.

1Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada,  daniel.pang@umontreal.ca

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: DSJ Pang holds a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (ID: 424022-2013). F Rousseau-Blass is supported by the Fondation J-Louis Lévesque.

Role of the Funders: The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, or decision to publish.

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