PreReg: Preregistration in Animal Experimentation – A Feasibility Study

Principal Investigator: Hanno Würbel
Evie Vergauwe (University of Geneva)
Project Team:

Cristina Priboi (Postdoc)

Funded by: Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)
Project period: 2023-2025

The ongoing transformation of science towards Open Science is aimed to promote rigor, transparency and reproducibility of scientific research, with a view to guarantee credibility and enhance trust. Preregistration – the a priori registration of study designs and analysis plans in open repositories – is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially transformative Open Science practices. Preregistration has long been established as standard practice in clinical research and more recently is increasingly taken up in many other fields.

In animal research, however, preregistration is still far from being widespread. Although study registries for animal studies exist (e.g.,, there appear to be some reservations towards the use of preregistration among the animal research community. Moreover, the relevance, applicability, and implementation of preregistration has not yet been properly analysed for animal research. With the rapid development of the Open Science movement and increasing calls for stakeholders (authorities, funders, publishers, and research institutions) setting policies for Open Science practices, including preregistration, there is a risk of changing policies too far or prematurely, before the potential benefits and costs for innovation and quality of research, and the practical implications of preregistration have been understood by all involved parties.

The overall objective of this feasibility study is to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of preregistration in animal research. We will use a mixed-methods approach, including a scoping review of the existing literature on preregistration, as well as a survey, semi-structured interviews, and targeted workshops involving all relevant stakeholders, to provide insights of appropriate application, which could inform future policies and infrastructures when implementing preregistration in animal research.

This project is part of SIRRO: Strengthen the Interoperability and Reusability of Research Outputs by the Swiss Reproducibility Network (SwissRN) represented by the Universities of Zürich, Bern, and Geneva. SIRRO is funded as an 'Explore Project' in Track A of the Swiss Open Research Data (ORD) Grants program by swissuniversities. The aim of SIRRO is to (i) fortify SwissRN as an existing community engaging with ORD practices that have the goal of strengthening interoperability and reusability, and (ii) intensify the efforts of SwissRN towards a systematic assessment of the impact and obstacles in the implementation of ORD practices. More specifically, the focus of SIRRO is on the ORD practices of preregistration and data management planning as measures to avoid bias and to increase quality. Our project will thus benefit from close interaction with the SwissRN, especially with the working group dedicated to preregistration and registered reports and the project consortium of SIRRO.