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Animal Alternatives Searching

This guide was designed to aid researchers completing literature searches for animal alternatives as part of the protocol submission and review of NYU's University Animal Welfare Committee (UAWC).

Reporting Your Search

To fully report your search in the IACUC protocol, you need to provide

  • Databases searched. Search at least two.
  • Dates covered in the search
  • Exact search string you used to search. A list of keywords is not sufficient. 

The easiest way to report the search string is from the Search History available in most databases. From there, you can cut and paste the search strategy or take a screenshot of the whole page.

In PubMed, search history is on the Advanced search page, which you can access using the "Advanced" link under the main search bar.

Screencapture of PubMed results page highlighting "Advanced" link under main search bar.

Screencapture of PubMed Advanced Search Page highlighting search strategy as reported in search history.

In Biological Abstracts & Web of Science, Search History is in the upper right.

Screencapture of Web of Science Search History page highlighting search strategy as reported in the search history and the "Search History" link in the upper right banner.

Saving Searches & Creating Alerts

Most databases allow you to create an account so that you can save searches, set up email alerts from them, and save collections of articles of interest to you. Once you've developed a search strategy that works for a given protocol, this is a great way to store it for future protocols. In most databases, the account login is located in the upper right.

In PubMed, you can save searches, and create alerts and search filters through a My NCBI account. (If you are creating a new account, it's recommended that you use your eRA Commons login, if available).

Screencapture of PubMed page highlighting Login link in upper right


Once you have a strategy that is working well for you, you can save it by clicking "Create Alert"

Screencapture of Pubmed page highlighting "Create Alert" link under main search bar


Saved searches can be reviewed and managed in My NCBI. Email alerts can also be set up to send you new results as they are added to PubMed.

Screencapture of "Saved Searches" on the My NCBI Dashboard highlighting at saved search


Animal Research Reporting Standards

Research reporting standards provide minimum guidelines and recommendations for reporting research methods and results transparently and in sufficient detail that methods can be critically evaluated and results can potentially be reproduced. Transparent reporting of results can assist in the reduction of animals used in research.