Assessing the Search for Information on Three Rs Methods, and their Subsequent Implementation: A National Survey among Scientists in The Netherlands
Judith van Luijk, Yvonne Cuijpers, Lilian van der Vaart, Marlies Leenaars and Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga
A local survey conducted among scientists into the current practice of searching for information on Three Rs (i.e. Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) methods has highlighted the gap between the statutory requirement to apply Three Rs methods and the lack of criteria to search for them. To verify these findings on a national level, we conducted a survey among scientists throughout The Netherlands. Due to the low response rate, the results give an impression of opinions, rather than being representative of The Netherlands as a whole. The findings of both surveys complement each other, and indicate that there is room for improvement. Scientists perceive searching the literature for information on Three Rs methods to be a difficult task, and specific Three Rs search skills and knowledge of Three Rs databases are limited. Rather than using a literature search, many researchers obtain information on these methods through personal communication, which means that published information on possible Three Rs methods often remains unfound and unused. A solution might be to move beyond the direct search for information on Three Rs methods and choose another approach. One approach that seems rather appropriate is that of systematic review. This provides insight into the necessity for any new animal studies, as well as optimal implementation of available data and the prevention of unnecessary animal use in the future.