Possible solutions

What is the real aim of science? The above examples demonstrate that the goal of individuals and organisations can deviate significantly from objectively searching for the truth, which as a result can compromise health and well-being of animals and humans. The incentives of publishing as many publications as possible must change to e.g. developing good new treatments for humans.

In order to perform animal studies according to good scientific practice, it is important to respect quality of science rules, such as randomisation and blinding and sample size calculations. For reporting animal studies, official reporting guidelines such as ARRIVE should be followed and implemented. In order to prepare animal studies well in time, guidelines such as PREPARE should be used (Smith, Clutton, Lilley, Hansen, & Brattelid, 2018).  Funders, editors, ethics committees (animal and human) and scientific organisations should require and check good practices. Medical Ethics committees should demand a good evaluation of preceding preclinical trials, e.g. by demanding systematic reviews, before allowing clinical trials. It all starts however with the individual responsibility of the researchers. And therefore, all of this requires effective educational systems and appropriate reward systems in place which lies within the scope of academic institutions.

A recent initiative shows a promising development, namely the Ensuring value in research funder forum, who have formulated 10 guiding principles for funding clinical trials (Forum, 2017). It is a group co-convened by 3 large funding organisations: ZonMW from the Netherlands, NIHR from the UK and PCORI from the US.  The implementation of the guiding principles is discussed by these and other funders, and also whether these can be made applicable for preclinical studies. When funders start to demand and fund these guiding principles, a huge move into improved quality of science and better health and welfare of animals and humans can become reality.