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New academic database for alternatives in education and training

New academic database for alternatives in education and training

InterNICHE launches today a free-access academic database focusing on innovative and humane education and training, including alternatives to animal experiments, in medicine, veterinary medicine and biological science (1).

The InterNICHE Studies Database, available on the new InterNICHE website at http://www.interniche.org , provides references, abstracts and other details for over 750 published studies, searchable by discipline, author and keyword. Each study has been researched and included for its relevance to the pedagogical, ethical and economic issues presented by the use of animals, alternatives and technology in education and training (2).

The Studies Database has been published to facilitate free access to information that can support curricular transformation and replacement of animal experiments (3, 4). Functionality that allows comments on each study has been integrated into the resource to encourage critique and debate.

The database can help identify specific alternative tools and approaches to enhance practical classes, and in parallel with the InterNICHE Alternatives Database can be linked into alternative search strategies for universities and training centres (5). Links from individual studies to the PubMed database allow users to identify related citations.

The contents of the Studies Database reflect major themes such as technological innovation, experience of implementation, assessment and comparative studies. The studies can provide valuable information on topics ranging from teaching objectives, the hidden curriculum and conscientious objection to alternative physiology classes, microsurgical training and haptic technology.

Studies about cutting edge technology and techniques in medical training, often developed to ensure effective training and to help guarantee patient safety, are included for the latter's impact in replacing animal experiments and consolidating the implementation of non-animal training techniques. As an example of its potential, the Studies Database provides an opportunity to research the evolution and assessment of virtual and augmented reality for laparoscopic surgical skills training.

Access to the studies can help lift the level of the debate concerning curricular transformation. By including some studies in favour of harmful animal use, the database allows for dissection of their claims, and encourages further refinement of the arguments for full replacement. Studies with valid arguments in support of the use of animal cadavers, organs and tissue - but which do not question the killing of animals - are joined by those that explore ethical sourcing (6), thereby encouraging critical engagement. And discussions about the inclusion or exclusion of cadaver dissection in human medicine curricula can offer lessons in the potential relevance of dissection within veterinary medicine and zoology studies.

The database is scheduled to double in size to over 1500 studies during 2012. New functionality, including linking studies to relevant products listed in the Alternatives Database, the availability of full versions of selected papers, and inclusion of more non-English studies, will also be introduced.

Notes:

(1) InterNICHE is the International Network for Humane Education. The InterNICHE Studies Database is available at http://www.interniche.org/studies 

Please contact Nick Jukes, InterNICHE Co-ordinator on coordinator@interniche.org , or by phone on +44 116 210 9652 or mobile +44 7552 972 770 for more information.

(2) Research by Nick Jukes. InterNICHE credits the British Library and the PubMed database at the US National Library of Medicine, and shares the latter's commitment to fair use.

(3) Website and database development by Vadim Danko, InterNICHE Partner. Administrative support from volunteer Sumayyah Gangat, with further input from InterNICHE National Contacts and other volunteers.

(4) InterNICHE gratefully acknowledges support from sponsors the Anti-Vivisection Union (AVU) (South Australia) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

(5) The InterNICHE Alternatives Database is available at http://www.interniche.org/alternatives . Neither database focuses on alternatives in research and testing, but the Studies Database includes some papers on alternatives in general if the content is also relevant to education and training.

(6) Ethical sourcing is defined by the InterNICHE Policy on the Use of Animals and Alternatives in Education � see http://www.interniche.org/studies/ethically-sourced-animal-cadavers-and-tissue-considerations-education-and-training and http://www.interniche.org/studies/policy-practice-illustrating-viability-full-replacement

(7) This news release now also available in Burmese, Hindi, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian. Please select language from the site menu.


New InterNICHE website for humane education and alternatives

InterNICHE launches today its new website on alternatives to animal experiments in medical, veterinary medical and biological science education and training (1, 2).

Available at http://www.interniche.org , the new site is a collaborative, content-rich and multi-language resource. It has been developed to meet the needs of teachers and trainers, students, ethics committees, alternatives producers and campaigners internationally.

The site comprises an evolving range of news, information, database access and downloads provided by InterNICHE. Functionality has been introduced that enables user-friendly upload of multi-language content from all parties, and which facilitates the process of translation.

This commitment to inclusivity will encourage participation from the diverse international community that is involved in curricular transformation. And with all content also requiring a summary in English, the twin processes of localisation and internationalisation will optimise the site's impact.

Users are invited to share news and information, and to contribute their skills, in order to build a powerful repository of resources and experience. A role-based access facility defines each user's rights to view and publish data, reflecting their chosen degree of participation.

The website's database resources include the InterNICHE Alternatives Database, which provides descriptions, specifications, and links to producers for over 1000 alternatives, arranged by discipline and medium (3). This valuable resource, available in several languages, comprises alternatives first collated and detailed in the InterNICHE book from Guinea Pig to Computer Mouse (2nd ed.) (4). With further original research it has now doubled in size, with entries updated and illustrated with photographs.

The InterNICHE Studies Database is a newly developed resource, providing references, abstracts and other details for over 750 published studies and books on humane education, alternatives and related themes (5). A comments facility has been established to encourage critique and debate. Both databases can be linked into alternative search strategies for universities and training centres.

Nick Jukes, InterNICHE Co-ordinator, said today, "We are excited about the launch of the new InterNICHE website and our plans for further extending its content and functionality. A dynamic, sharing site and the decentralisation of resources and responsibilities will enhance the effectiveness and resilience of the movement for change. We are confident that the site demonstrates the viability of full replacement, and that its use will quicken the transformation of life science education and training to being fully humane and based on best practice."

Forthcoming content and functionality to be added to the site include new translations into Spanish, Arabic, Hindi and Chinese; new opportunities for users to upload content and to volunteer on site development; reviews, assessment and on-line access to alternatives; and facilities to support the global network of InterNICHE Alternative Loan Systems (libraries of humane learning tools). New content and functionality will be announced on the news page (6).

Notes:

(1) InterNICHE is the International Network for Humane Education.

Please contact Nick Jukes, InterNICHE Co-ordinator on coordinator@interniche.org , or by phone on +44 116 210 9652 or mobile +44 7552 972 770 for more information.

(2) Website content by Nick Jukes and contributors. Website development by Vadim Danko, InterNICHE Partner. InterNICHE acknowledges the important contribution from volunteers, including InterNICHE National Contacts. Credit is given to all InterNICHE sponsors, in particular the Swiss League Against Vivisection (LSCV), Proefdiervrij, the Anti-Vivisection Union (AVU) (South Australia) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

(3) InterNICHE Alternatives Database available at http://www.interniche.org/alternatives

(4) Jukes N and Chiuia M. From Guinea Pig to Computer Mouse: Alternative Methods for a Progressive, Humane Education. 2nd ed. Leicester, UK: InterNICHE; 2003. 520 p

(5) InterNICHE Studies Database available at http://www.interniche.org/studies

(6) This news release now also available in Arabic, German, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian. Please select language from the site menu


Nick Jukes InterNICHE Co-ordinator

98 Clarendon Park Road Leicester LE2 3AE England

tel: +44 116 210 9652 mobile: +44 7552 972 770 e-mail: coordinator@interniche.org
www.interniche.org

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