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Source: Wikimedia Commons

For Openness in Science!

Now more than ever, openness in science — particularly, by scientists and the institutions that support them — is critical for garnering and maintaining public support. Not only does transparency enhance public trust and enthusiasm for science, which is crucial for maintaining sufficient funding for research, but it also benefits the public by advancing scientific knowledge and by enabling scientific and medical progress.

No longer are scientists bound to communicate their work in academic journals that only fellow specialists will read. Today, scientists are actively engaging in the public, policymakers, and other researchers in increasingly accessible ways. Individual researchers, like Dr. Christine Lattin at Yale University, have begun posting details about their research programs, along with FAQs, videos, and a full list of publications, on their personal websites. (Notably, Dr. Lattin also extended her scientific outreach to the public by organizing an event at Yale where Story Collider came to engage in public science communication, including a night of science storytelling from Yale scientists.) Institutions, like the University of Wisconsin Madison and the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis, have launched online initiatives like the Zika Open-Research Portal and a blog posting regular updates with results and data from their animal studies that the public can access. Both these institutions are also recognized for meeting Speaking of Research’s grading criteria for detailed and transparent animal research statements. Their public statements include extensive information about animal welfare, FAQs , the institution’s animal research programs, case studies that highlight researchers’ animal studies, and images/videos from their own facilities.

Male rhesus macaque at the California National Primate Research Center. Source: Kathy West Studios.

But individual scientists and institutions— and you — can do even more.

Start by signing Speaking of Research’s Open Letter calling for greater openness in animal research. We believe it is time for the voice of the science community to be heard. We must remind Americans that animal studies remain necessary to develop scientific knowledge to combat disease and improve health.

As well, all scientists, veterinarians, animal care staff, and animal research advocates can join Speaking of Research’s Rapid Response Network (RNN), a new initiative that aims to bring these experts together to support the principles of science, openness, and the contribution of biomedical research. After signing up, the RNN will send out occasional alerts about important actions you can take to stand up for biomedical research, such as signing letters in defense of institutions and scientists and their research, to supporting targeted colleagues, to reaching out to the public.

Join us in supporting the movement for greater openness in science!

~Speaking of Research