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IACUC Resources   Tags: animal welfare act, iacuc  

Resources to support meeting the information requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.
Last Updated: Jan 13, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Changes to AWA Requirements

The primary contact that researchers have with the information requirements of the Animal Welfare Act is in the literature search for alternatives portion of a research protocol proposal. It is important to know that these requirements have recently changed:

The APHIS document (dated March 25, 2011) differs from  the previous document (dated June 21, 2000

The new text is as follows:

  "When a database search is the primary means of meeting this requirement [consideration of alternatives or alternative methods], the narrative should include:

 •the name(s) of the databases searched (due to the variation in subject coverage and sources used, one database is seldom adequate);

•the date the search was performed;

•the time period covered by the search; and

•the search strategy (including scientifically relevant terminology) used."

The key is that 1) multiple databases are now required, and 2) the inclusion of the actual search strategy is also required as opposed to only the keywords. This change allows for better evaluation of the quality and comprehensiveness of the search performed, and also allows a reviewer to replicate the actual search that a researcher used to support their protocol.

Help with documenting your search strategies can be found on the "Databases" page.


News and Alerts

Anyone submitting an application, proposal or report to the NIH must include the PMC reference number (PMCID) when citing applicable papers that they author or that arise from their NIH-funded research. This policy is outlined here: More information on requirements and the identification of citations is here: Penn State Profiles indexes using PubMed, thus the PubMed ID number is in the citation, not the PMCID number. A PMCID/PMID/NIHMSID converter is available here: Given a set of PubMed IDs (PMIDs) you can use this converter to obtain the corresponding PMCIDs and/or NIHMS IDs if they exist. A PMCID will be available if the article is in PubMed Central (PMC). Information on that submission process is here: An NIHMS ID will be available if the manuscript has been deposited via the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system. For EndNote users, information about adding the PMCID to imported citations can be found here: The library also has a guide with additional information and the Penn State copyright addendum here:.

OLAW Online Seminars program is a free webinar series to help Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) and Institutional Officials (IOs) explore their responsibilities in the oversight of PHS-funded research that involves the use of live vertebrate animals. Links to recorded weminars are here:

NIH Factsheet on preparing the vertebrate animal section (VAS) of NIH Grant Applications:

Analysis of the 8th ed. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals - Use of "Must", "Should" and "May" in text. (Dr. Joan Richerson, Asst. Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, Dept. of Veterans Affairs):

AAALAC International relies on Three Primary Standards used by the Council to evaluate programs: the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide, NRC 2011); the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (the Ag Guide, FASS 2010); and the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes, Council of Europe (ETS 123). AAALAC has modified its position statements to reflect changes in the 2011 Guide. The following positions will be used by the Council on Accreditation to evaluate and accredit animal care and use programs:



This guide is intended to assist IACUC members and researchers at Penn State Hershey in meeting the information requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. It also links to other resources at Penn State and Penn State Hershey that pertain to IACUC and Animal Research activities and needs, such as policies, guidelines, and web resources for laboratory procedural training. Suggestions from the IACUC and researchers for content in this guide are encouraged - see the profile link at the right to contact me.

This guide is divided into the following sections (use the tabs along the row above to move from one section to another or select a link from the list below):

Databases - selected databases with coverage in subject areas relevant to the IACUC and to animal research.

Penn State Resources - IACUC and research-releated resources are from various locations across Penn State, some external, some internal. Internal sources may not be available off-campus.

Searching help - this section will assist you with search strategies and termninology for getting relevant results

Links to other resources - this section links to a variety of resources, including regulatory and training sites and documents, in particular the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th ed. (AAALAC)

Writing the Lay Summary - information about summarizing your research in clear, concise language for non-scientists

Your Liaison Librarian

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