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Ethical policies on animal experiments are not compromised by whether a journal is freely accessible or charges for publication

  • S. A. Rands (a1)


The advent of the open access (OA) movement in publishing has been instrumental in causing a shift in the accessibility of research findings published in academic journals. The adoption of OA and other online publication models means that the results of scientific research published in journals using a free access (FA) framework are now available, free of charge, to anyone with access to the Internet. FA journals typically require a payment from the authors of a manuscript, which has raised concerns about the quality of work published in them; accepting payment from an author may compromise a journal’s acceptance criteria. This study addresses whether journal policy on the treatment of animals is influenced by whether a journal follows a FA publishing model, and whether a requirement to pay for publication has an influence. A random sample of 332 biomedical journals listed in the ISI Web of Knowledge and Directory of Open Access Journals databases were assessed for whether they had an ethical policy on publishing animal studies, and what form of publication framework they used (103 of the journals followed a FA framework; 101 charged in some way for publication). Only 135 (40.7%) of the journals surveyed demanded that submissions comply with a pre-defined ethical stance. FA journals are just as likely to have an ethical policy on the treatment and presentation of animal studies as ‘traditional’, non-FA journals (significance of there being a difference: P = 0.98), and there is no relationship between policy and whether an author is required to pay for publication (significance of there being a difference: P = 0.57). Older journals are more likely to have an ethical policy (P = 0.03). There is, therefore, no obvious compromise shown by FA journals in the explicit policies on reporting studies involving animals. However, since anyone can read published FA studies online, FA journals that do not have an explicit policy about publishing animal research are urged to consider adopting one.


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Ethical policies on animal experiments are not compromised by whether a journal is freely accessible or charges for publication

  • S. A. Rands (a1)


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