Differences between the PubMed record and full-text methods section in in-vivo animal research articles

Large animal protocols submitted to Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) are required to include searches for alternatives and address the “3Rs":

1. Refinement: use methodology and protocols that reduce pain and distress
2. Replacement: substitute animals with non-animal models or lower species
3. Reduction: minimize the number of animals

Locating descriptions of methodology for the refinement concept is challenging since PubMed (and most other databases) do not search full-text.

The objectives of this study were to determine how well the title, abstract, and MeSH terms cover the content of the methods section in in-vivo animal research articles, particularly with respect to procedures, drugs, and animal species used, and to describe how this might impact a search.

The title/abstract, MeSH terms, and methods section of each article were reviewed and details such as: animal species, number of animals, description of housing, description of experimental procedures used, and analgesia/anesthesia were extracted.

Articles were screened from April 2017 - September 2017.

Details for the methodology used and description of uploaded files are provided in the README.txt file.