Publication rate in preclinical research: A plea for preregistration

Mira van der Naald*, Steven Wenker, Pieter A. Doevendans, Kimberley E. Wever, S.A.J. Chamuleau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives The ultimate goal of biomedical research is the development of new treatment options for patients. Animal models are used if questions cannot be addressed otherwise. Currently, it is widely believed that a large fraction of performed studies are never published, but there are no data that directly address this question. Methods We have tracked a selection of animal study protocols approved in the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, to assess whether these have led to a publication with a follow-up period of 7 years. Results We found that 60% of all animal study protocols led to at least one publication (full text or abstract). A total of 5590 animals were used in these studies, of which 26% was reported in the resulting publications. Conclusions The data presented here underline the need for preclinical preregistration, in view of the risk of reporting and publication bias in preclinical research. We plea that all animal study protocols should be prospectively registered on an online, accessible platform to increase transparency and data sharing. To facilitate this, we have developed a platform dedicated to animal study protocol registration:
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere100051
JournalBMJ Open Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

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