Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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Searching strategies for detecting publications on alternative methods: A pilot study

Barbara Grune, Amrei Schnock, Antje Dörendahl, Susanne Skolik and Horst Spielmann
Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR), Centre for the Documentation and Evaluation of Alternative Methods to Animal
Experiments (ZEBET), Berlin, Germany

As a consequence of the increasing regulatory acceptance of the 3Rs concept of Russel and Burch (1959) on using alternative methods to animal experiments, it is essential that scientists, animal welfare officers, and public policy-makers are able to retrieve relevant,
high-quality publications on alternative methods. Efficiently retrieved scientific literature will improve the application of alternative methods. In a pilot study we asked: What are effective search strategies for articles on alternative methods to acute oral toxicity testing? Free text searches (n=28) were performed in databases. The retrieval performance of selected search terms (n=17) was evaluated. We determined the relevance of the articles retrieved and identified a first ranking of search terms and databases for searching for articles on alternative methods used in acute oral toxicity testing. More research will be needed to address other areas of toxicity testing. Recommendations of search strategies to improve the success of searching for articles on alternative methods should include appropriate search terms, phrases and recommendations for databases.

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