Pain and Laboratory Animals: Publication Practices for Better Data Reproducibility and Better Animal Welfare

We report that publication guidelines focus more on other potential sources of bias in experimental results, under-appreciate the potential for pain and pain drugs to skew data, and thus mostly treat pain management as solely an animal welfare concern, in the jurisdiction of animal care and use committees. At the same time, animal welfare regulations do not include guidance on publishing animal data, even though publication is an integral part of the cycle of research and can affect the welfare of animals in studies building on published work, leaving it to journals and authors to voluntarily decide what details of animal use to publish. We suggest that journals, scientists and animal welfare regulators should revise current guidelines and regulations, on treatment of pain and on transparent reporting of treatment of pain, to improve this dual welfare and data-quality deficiency.