Special Issue "Improving Research Animal Welfare and Quality of Science"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Welfare".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mark J. Prescott
Guest Editor
National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), London, United Kingdom
Interests: animal behaviour; animal ethics; animal welfare; primatology; research methods; 3Rs
Dr. Melanie L. Graham
Guest Editor
Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
Interests: Animal behavior; primates; 3Rs; animal disease models; animal welfare; cell-based therapies; metabolic disease; surgery; transplantation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Improving the welfare of animals used in research is important not only for ethical and legal reasons but also because poor welfare can impact negatively on the quality of science derived from them. Animals with compromised welfare have disturbed behavior, physiology, and immunology, which can introduce confounds into experiments and unwanted variation in scientific output, affecting both the reliability and repeatability of research results. It follows that to ensure good science, research animals should have normal behavior and physiology, apart from the specific adverse effects under investigation. Reducing unnecessary pain, suffering, and/or distress will reduce between-animal variation, meaning that meaningful biological effects can be detected from a reduced number of animals.

Recent years have seen the development and validation of a variety of refinements to scientific and husbandry procedures that improve animal welfare. Evidence is growing that such refinements can also benefit scientific outcomes. For example, non-aversive methods of picking up laboratory mice reduce anxiety, which leads to better performance in behavioral tests and phenotypic assays. Training non-human primate diabetes models for voluntary cooperation with their medical care obviates the need for stressful restraint, improving their well-being and avoiding confounding effects on metabolic outcome measures that are sensitive to stress, thereby increasing model validity. Improvements in the design of implanted devices, surgical techniques, and use of asepsis across a range of disciplines have reduced infection and inflammation, meaning data collection can continue uninterrupted and with fewer drop-out animals due to welfare complications.

This Special Issue will feature research that demonstrates the link between improving animal welfare and improving the quality of science or scientific outcomes. Original manuscripts that report new scientific findings on any aspect of this link are invited. Please note, submitted manuscripts should adhere to the ARRIVE Guidelines, which have recently been revised: https://arriveguidelines.org/.

Dr. Mark J. Prescott
Dr. Melanie L. Graham
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • animal behavior
  • animal welfare
  • distress
  • laboratory research
  • pain
  • quality of science
  • stress
  • refinement
  • reliability
  • reproducibility
  • validity
  • variation
  • wellbeing

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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