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Alternative methods

30 - 11 - 2018

Bibliographic research on the 3Rs

The European Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes requires the application of the 3Rs principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement). This principle is also referred to as alternative methods.


However, the great variety of research domains and models combined with the constant progress of knowledge and technology make it very difficult to gather the latest information on alternative methods.


This is why the European center of alternative methods EURL ECVAM put online in 2013 a guide on how to find information on the 3Rs, that is still relevant. This guide is intended to help researchers and ethics committees to best meet regulatory requirements for animal welfare.


This guide is long (206 pages). In section 4, it suggests the seven steps of successful online research:

               - specifying your need

               - specifying the field and the scientific approach

               - choosing the source of information

               - choosing specific and relevant keywords

               - starting with a 3Rs database

               - framing the search using larger databases

               - expanding the search if needed


This guide provides many useful details on each of these steps.


A diagram shows the different categories of databases and their advantages and disadvantages.