Speaking at a meeting, whether virtual or in-person, can be a great way to disseminate your findings.
Once you have completed the tasks of carrying out the study and analysing the data, your final step is to make others aware of what you have done and what you found. Feedback and communication are important, regardless of whether the enrichment was a success or not. You will need to consider who could benefit from information about your evaluation and the results you obtained. You may need to obtain permission to share your data externally.
Opportunities to share your findings range from a discussion with colleagues, through presenting a poster or talk at a conference, to contributing to a publication. Which are appropriate will depend on your findings, the rules within your facility, the scientific robustness of your study, who you are collaborating with and your own commitments. In all cases you will start with a clear summary of your findings, usually alongside a visualisation of your data (e.g. a graph or figure).
A study with any level of investment and scientific robustness can be:
For more advanced studies, you should consider:
- Initially you will share your findings with your colleagues. It is important that they are up to date on anything that relates to the animals in their care. Your colleagues may also have ideas on who else to share your findings with.
- Your findings may be of interest to committees focused on ethics and animal care (e.g. the AWERB, IACUC or equivalent), scientific user groups and species-focused welfare groups.
- You can create a poster and upload it to The Enrichment Record poster repository. This is an open access resource so you can also view other posters to use as examples.
- Share your poster or a visualisation of your data (e.g. relevant graphs) along with a summary of your findings on social media. Twitter is a good option for this, as you can tag organisations that may be interested in your findings, for example: the NC3Rs (@NC3Rs), IAT (@InstAnimalTech), RSPCA (@RSPCA_LabAnimal) and The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (@UFAW_1926).
Find relevant events and groups by asking colleagues and looking online. Consider laboratory animal science associations, animal technicians’ meetings, specialist organisations in your field (e.g. toxicology or neuroscience societies), 3Rs centres and science-focused animal welfare organisations.
- Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT).
- Institute of Animal Technology (IAT).
- RSPCA Animals in Science.
- Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).
Studies that are conducted with the intention to publish are designed accordingly, taking into account what the potential publishers expect. It is good to consider your options for publication well ahead of time, so you can plan accordingly and collaborate with the right people.
Animal Technology and Welfare, the journal of the UK’s Institute for Animal Technology (IAT), is a good publication for animal technicians considering submitting papers for the first time. The PREPARE and ARRIVE guidelines are useful when planning experiments, and you could also ask colleagues for advice on statistics and experimental design if necessary. Be sure to also consult the ARRIVE guidelines when writing up your studies for publication, and to share the DETAILS of your study.