The arrival of guidelines for reporting experiments

Published in Protocols & Methods

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Are you conducting experiments using animals or developing protocols in this area of research? If so, you may be interested to take a look at the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) guidelines when reporting your results and writing up those experimental procedures. These guidelines were published in June 2010 to improve the reporting of research using animals and can be found here. The guidelines themselves are presented in Table 2 of this paper, and consist of twenty items that can be used as a checklist for authors preparing a manuscript on this topic. Of course they are useful for peer-reviewers and journal editors too!

The ARRIVE guidelines provide recommendations about the content of all the standard sections of a manuscript, covering many points you would expect such as ethics statements and description of the experimental procedures and animals used. In addition, they suggest how to report the statistical analysis of results, as well as providing information about the study design, which is particularly relevant when writing up a protocol. To apply these guidelines to the preparation of a protocol for Nature Protocols, an Experimental Design section in the Introduction can be a good place to include further information on study design and the housing and husbandry of experimental animals, while the Procedure and Anticipated Results sections obviously allow detailed description of the methods used to obtain and analyse the results.

Although we do not publish primary research at Nature Protocols, but instead focus on tried-and-tested methods that have been previously published, we do find that these guidelines provide a useful resource and we encourage our authors to comply with the ARRIVE reporting guidelines when documenting protocols that involve animal studies.

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