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"Developing a collaborative agenda for humanities and social scientific research on laboratory animal welfare"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gail Davies, Pru Hobson-West, Beth J. Greenhough, Robert G. W. Kirk, Ken Applebee, Laura C. Bellingan, Manuel Berdoy, Henry Buller, Helen J. Cassaday, Keith Davies, Daniela Diefenbacher, Tone Druglitro, Maria Paula Escobar-Tello, Carrie Friese, Kathrin Hermann, Amy Hinterberger, Wendy J. Jarrett, Kimberley Jayne, Adam M. Johnson, Elizabeth R. Johnson & 22 more Timm Konold, Matthew C. Leach, Sabina Leonelli, David I. Lewis, Elliot J. Lilley, Emma R. Longridge, Carmen M. McLeod, Mara Miele, Nicole C. Nelson, Elizabeth H. Ormandy, Helen Pallett, Lonneke Poort, Pandora Pound, Edmund Ramsden, Emma Roe, Helen Scalway, Astrid Schrader, Chris J. Scotton, Cheryl L. Scudamore, Jane A. Smith, Lucy Whitfield, Sarah Wolfensohn

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLOS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2016


King's Authors


Improving laboratory animal science and welfare requires both new scientific research and
insights from research in the humanities and social sciences. Whilst scientific research provides
evidence to replace, reduce and refine procedures involving laboratory animals (the
‘3Rs’), work in the humanities and social sciences can help understand the social, economic
and cultural processes that enhance or impede humane ways of knowing and working with
laboratory animals. However, communication across these disciplinary perspectives is currently
limited, and they design research programmes, generate results, engage users, and
seek to influence policy in different ways. To facilitate dialogue and future research at this
interface, we convened an interdisciplinary group of 45 life scientists, social scientists,
humanities scholars, non-governmental organisations and policy-makers to generate a collaborative
research agenda. This drew on methods employed by other agenda-setting exercises
in science policy, using a collaborative and deliberative approach for the identification
of research priorities. Participants were recruited from across the community, invited to submit
research questions and vote on their priorities. They then met at an interactive workshop
in the UK, discussed all 136 questions submitted, and collectively defined the 30 most
important issues for the group. The output is a collaborative future agenda for research in
the humanities and social sciences on laboratory animal science and welfare. The questions
indicate a demand for new research in the humanities and social sciences to inform
emerging discussions and priorities on the governance and practice of laboratory animal
research, including on issues around: international harmonisation, openness and public
engagement, ‘cultures of care’, harm-benefit analysis and the future of the 3Rs. The process
outlined below underlines the value of interdisciplinary exchange for improving communication
across different research cultures and identifies ways of enhancing the
effectiveness of future research at the interface between the humanities, social sciences,
science and science policy

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