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Animals 2015, 5(2), 315-331; doi:10.3390/ani5020315

A Critical Look at Biomedical Journals’ Policies on Animal Research by Use of a Novel Tool: The EXEMPLAR Scale

Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre S/N, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
IBMC—Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, University of Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 3 April 2015 / Accepted: 23 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [335 KB, uploaded 30 April 2015]   |  

Simple Summary

Biomedical journals have the responsibility to promote humane research. To gauge and evaluate journal policies on animal research, the EXEMPLAR—For “Excellence in Mandatory Policies on Animal Research”—scale is presented and applied to evaluate a sample of 170 biomedical journals, providing an overview of the current landscape of editorial policies on the ethical treatment of animals.


Animal research is not only regulated by legislation but also by self-regulatory mechanisms within the scientific community, which include biomedical journals’ policies on animal use. For editorial policies to meaningfully impact attitudes and practice, they must not only be put into effect by editors and reviewers, but also be set to high standards. We present a novel tool to classify journals’ policies on animal use—the EXEMPLAR scale—as well as an analysis by this scale of 170 journals publishing studies on animal models of three human diseases: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Type-1 Diabetes and Tuberculosis. Results show a much greater focus of editorial policies on regulatory compliance than on other domains, suggesting a transfer of journals’ responsibilities to scientists, institutions and regulators. Scores were not found to vary with journals’ impact factor, country of origin or antiquity, but were, however, significantly higher for open access journals, which may be a result of their greater exposure and consequent higher public scrutiny. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal research; animal ethics; animal welfare; editorial policies; EXEMPLAR scale animal research; animal ethics; animal welfare; editorial policies; EXEMPLAR scale

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Martins, A.R.; Franco, N.H. A Critical Look at Biomedical Journals’ Policies on Animal Research by Use of a Novel Tool: The EXEMPLAR Scale. Animals 2015, 5, 315-331.

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