Searching for the 3Rs: facilitating complicance in the bibliographic search for alternatives
Wood, Mary W.
Hart, Lynette A.
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The search for alternatives is a requirement in several countries, but rarely are the logistics or the scientists' concerns considered. At the University of California Center for Animal Alternatives (UCCAA) we offer workshops on the nine UC campuses, teaching researchers, IACUCs, and librarians how to approach the alternatives search, including search strategy, appropriate terminology, and database suggestions/links. We are also developing a web-based resource along these same lines. Scientists generally approach an alternatives search as they approach any search; they search Medline, using the terms with which they are most conversant, and consider that this is adequate. However, there are several free bibliographic databases which are both appropriate and readily accessible, including Medline, Agricola and Toxline. A growing number of alternatives databases are available; these are rarely accessed by the scientific community. Websites such as AltWeb, Invittox and AWIC provide a virtually untapped wealth of information. There are also free government research sites which provide information on current research, such as CRIS, CRISP, and CORDIS. The terms used are equally as important as the database selection. Searching with the single keyword "alternatives" is less than adequate. Synonyms in all three areas of alternatives- replacement, reduction and refinement- must be developed and employed, such as anesthesia and analgesia, enrichment and husbandry, stress and distress. By offering concrete advice and assistance, as is included in our workshop curricula and on our website, the scientists can more easily perform worthwhile alternatives searches. By making use of the new technologies to create web-based search templates specific to the scientists' needs, we can help make the searching easier while also more relevant.