Consultations for Animal Experiment Applications
The IBE is responsible for providing consultations on applications for animal experiments and for preparing reports on the required number of animals as required for the approval of animal experiments by the ethics committee. This service is available to all professors and research staff members free of charge.
To be able to provide a satisfactory and effective service despite the large number of applications, a few rules - highlighted below - must be followed:
- All applicants must fill out the online application.
What is included in the consultations for animal experiment applications?
The staff at the IBE provides guidance regarding statistical methods which includes study design and the statistical analysis and interpretation of results. This includes the preparation of sample size reports required by the ethics committee. It is not possible for the personnel to execute the statistical analysis. A consultation regarding the selection and application of statistical software is available in certain situations. However, since the number of statistical programs has become too large to manage, assistance is only available for the following programs: SAS, SPSS, and R (S-Plus).
Requirements for an effective consultation
The contents and the methodical level of the consultation is based on the needs and wishes of the applicant. However, it is expected that the applicant has a basic knowledge of biometry.
When should I contact the IBE?
We generally recommend that applicants already make use of the biometric consultation during the planning phase of an investigation. The conversation with a biometrician often leads to a more precise research question and the optimization of the study design.
The creation of animal experiment applications is usually a lengthy process due to the complex study designs. The application for consultations should therefore be submitted as soon as possible. The IBE should be contacted at least 4 weeks prior to the submission deadline in order to receive the needed report in time.
How binding is the biometric consultation?
The participation in the biometric consultation program does not guarantee an optimal study design and analysis. First, the consultant can only provide advice on those aspects of the investigation that have been provided to him/her during the consultation. Second, the advice given is based on the statistical knowledge of the applicant and which statistical software is available. Third, the consultant has no way of controlling that his/her advice has been correctly implemented. For the reasons stated above, we emphasize that any mention of the institute or the advisory staff member within a publication, whether as a thank you or in the form of a coauthorship, requires an explicit approval by the staff member. Since this rule has not always been followed in the past, we now require a consenting signature to this rule within the application form.
Please note, however, that the sample size calculation generally is only valid if the subsequent analysis follows the specific guidelines outlined in the report.
In what form is an extensive consultation available?
A more intensive cooperation with the IBE can be established for research projects that require extensive analysis with more sophisticated methods. A requirement for this service is that an employee of the IBE is familiar with the appropriate statistical methods and has time and interest in the research project. For extensive projects, an appropriate personnel capacity must also be available for carrying out the analysis.
Co-authorship of the IBE staff member
For research projects requiring extensive analysis with sophisticated statistical methods, the IBE insists on a co-authorship for the IBE employee involved with the planned publication. Staff of the IBE and cooperation partners are encouraged to settle the question of co-authorship before the start of the cooperation.
What support is available regarding statistical analysis software?
The IBE has limited its support of statistical analysis software to the following programs: SAS, SPSS, R, and S-PLUS. This limitation is due to the unmanageable number of statistical software available on the market. While the above-mentioned programs have an extensive scope of function in both data management and statistical analysis, they are difficult to use. We have therefore established introductory courses for these statistical analysis programs. More information can be found on our site under “Study Programs and Education”.
The university computing center (Universitätsrechenzentrum), LRZ, also offers introductory courses and consultations regarding IT and computer usage. Additionally, it provides courses and consultations regarding SPSS.
Information regarding the SPSS course can be found on our site under "Study Programs and Education".
The usage of computer labs at the university hospitals is available to all employees of the faculty of medicine.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Michael Lauseker