The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke released last month a set of recommendations for scientific papers and grant applications describing preclinical animal studies. Published in the Oct. 11 issue of the journal Nature, the report recommended that all preclinical animal studies include details about research methodology, including randomization, blinding, sample-size estimation and data handling.
NINDS Director Story C. Landis, in a statement, said the recommendations were made to “to ensure that preclinical animal studies are reported in sufficient detail so that funding agencies, scientific journals and the broader scientific community can adequately review the research and decide how to move forward.”
The recommendations were the result of a workshop held in June in Washington, D.C., where representatives from the institute, patient advocates, researchers and scientific journal editors discussed how “to improve the quality of scientific reporting through a shared effort,” Shai Silberberg, an NINDS program director and a workshop organizer, said in the statement. Silberberg emphasized that the recommendations were designed for studies that test hypotheses rather than ones that generate them. Nevertheless, the workshop report recommends that hypothesis-testing preclinical studies be designed with the same rigor as clinical studies.
Even before the workshop, NINDS published in August 2011 a notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts that focused on study design for grant applications. Meanwhile, the institute has provided a list of considerations for grant applicants and grant reviewers.
Read the NINDS press releases here.