A frequent question asked by primary investigators is, "What is the literature search for alternatives and why do I have to do it?"
The US Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations (specifically the 1985 Amendment), require the principal investigators to consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animals, and provide a written narrative of the methods used and sources consulted to determine the availability of alternatives, including refinements, reductions, and replacements.
The search for alternatives refers to the three Rs described in the book, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique (1959) by Russell and Burch. The 3Rs are reduction in the number of animals used, refinement of techniques and procedures to reduce pain or distress, and replacement of animals with non-animal techniques or use of less-sentient species.
Before you begin your search:
Agricola - Publications and resources for all aspects of agriculture and allied disciplines.
ALTBIB Alternatives to Animal Testing Bibliography: Bibliography on alternatives to the use of live vertebrates in biomedical research and testing.
AltTox: A website dedicated to advancing non-animal methods of toxicity testing, both to better protect the health of humans, animals, and the environment and to reduce the numbers and suffering of animals used in current toxicology assessments. AltTox consists of three interconnected components:
Altweb: The Alternatives to Animal Testing Web Site, was created to serve as a gateway to alternatives news, information, and resources on the Internet and beyond. Altweb now is the U.S. home of the journal ALTEX: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, which is the official publication of the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT).
AnimAlt-ZEBET: One of the tasks of ZEBET is to provide scientists from industry, universities and public authorities with information on alternative methods in a database developed for that specific purpose. Since February 2000 the ZEBET database on alternative methods to animal experiments has been accessible without license fees on the Internet in German and English through the German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI).
DB-ALM: The Database for Alternative Methods is a public, factual database service that provides evaluated information on development and applications of advanced and alternative methods to animal experimentation in biomedical sciences and toxicology, both in research and for regulatory purposes.
EURL-ECVAM - European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing:
FDA Acronyms and Abbreviations (Gov): The FDA Acronyms and Abbreviations database provides a quick reference to acronyms and abbreviations related to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) activities. The emphasis is on scientific, regulatory, government agency, and computer application terms.
Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT): CAAT is part of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a European branch (CAAT-Europe) located at the University of Kostanz, Germany. We promote humane science by supporting the creation, development, validation, and use of alternatives to animals in research, product safety testing, and education.
Medline with Full-text (EBSCO): This full-text database provides access to 2,500+ full-text, top-tier biomedical and health journals. Covering a wide range of subjects, it is an essential resource for doctors, nurses, health professionals and researchers engaged in clinical care, public health and health policy development. Access to this resource is provided by INSPIRE the Indiana's Online Library.
MEDLINE via PubMed (NLM): (see also PubMed) MEDLINE contains >20 million references to articles published in >5,500 current biomedical journals from the United States and 80 other countries. Covers virtually every area in the broad field of biomedicine, including nursing, bioethics, health administration, toxicology, nutrition, pharmacology, medicine, psychiatry, medical engineering, and pathology, from the early 1940s to the present, with some older material. MEDLINE®/PubMed® Resources Guide
Medline (Ovid): Ovid MEDLINE ® covers the international literature on biomedicine, including the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities, and information science as they relate to medicine and health care. Information is indexed from approximately 5,600 journals published world-wide. Records start in the early 1800's and go all the way to our daily updates. Specific date ranges can be specified by the use of URL's. The link associated with this description covers 1996 to Present with Weekly Update.
Mednar.com: A free, medically-focused deep web search engine. It will perform a search of authoritative public and deep web resources, returning the most relevant results to one easily navigable page.
Merck Veterinary Manual, 11th ed.: This online reference provides veterinarians and other animal health professionals with concise and authoritative information about diseases and management for companion, laboratory, and exotic animals.
Mouse Genome Informatics: The international database resource for the laboratory mouse, providing integrated genetic, genomic, and biological data to facilitate the study of human health and disease.
National Academies: The Academies are comprised of three private, nonprofit institutions:
NCBI National Center for Biotechnology Information: The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
National Library of Medicine Databases
National Science Foundation (Gov): The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." NSF is vital because we support basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future. With an annual budget of $7.5 billion (FY 2016), NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.
NICEATM - NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NIH): NICEATM activities support the development and evaluation of new, revised, and alternative methods to identify potential hazards to human health and the environment, with a focus on replacing, reducing, or refining animal use.
NORINA Database - Norwegian Reference Centre for Laboratory Animal Science and Alternatives: An English-language database containing information on over 3,900 audiovisual aids that may be used as alternatives or supplements to the use of animals in teaching and training, including dissection alternatives, for all levels of education. Most products include contact information for purchasing or borrowing.
OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man®): A comprehensive, authoritative compendium of human genes and genetic phenotypes.
OVID: Search Medline, Journals@Ovid, Books@Ovid and Ovid Nursing.
PubMed: citations for biomedical literature from . Citations and abstracts from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books include the fields of biomedicine, health, life sciences, behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, and bioengineering.
ALTBIB - Alternatives to Animal Testing Bibliography: Bibliography on alternatives to the use of live vertebrates in biomedical research and testing.
Bioethics (Gov): The Bioethics Information Resource page provides links to a pre-formulated PubMed search and other resources addressing Bio-ethics.
PubMed Special Queries: Directory of topic-specific PubMed queries including AIDS, Bioethics, Cancer, Space Life Sciences as well as Clinical Queries along with many other search strategies.
Veterinary Science Search and Veterinary Information Resources: The MEDLINE®/PubMed® Veterinary Science search retrieves citations to journal literature, combining subject search terms, title words, and veterinary and animal health journal titles.
PubMed with IUH Holdings (NLM): This version of PubMed offers direct links to much of the full-text subscribed to by the IU Health Medical Library. Off campus access to subscribed content requires Athens authentication.
PUBPDF: Find full text articles from millions of scientific publications.
Recalls.gov (Gov): A service for alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products. Six federal agencies (Consumer Product safety Commission, FDA, Environmental protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US Coast Guard and the US Department of Agriculture) with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create www.recalls.gov -- a "one stop shop" for U.S. Government recalls. Drug Recalls can also be located at: FDA Drug Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts.
Science.gov (Gov): Searches over 45 databases and 2,000 websites from 14 federal agencies, offering authoritative US government science information, including research and development results.
TOXNET® (Gov): TOXicology Data NETwork is a group of databases covering chemicals and drugs, diseases and the environment, environmental
UC Davis Guide To Bibliographic Databases for Alternative Searching - This guide lists databases by animal model and topic.
ZFin - Zebrafish Model Organism Database is an on-line database of information for zebrafish researchers.