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Animal Alternatives Searching

Reporting Your Search

To fully report your search in the IACUC protocol, you need to provide

  • Databases searched. Search at least two.
  • Dates covered in the search
  • Exact search string you used to search. A list of keywords is not sufficient. 

The easiest way to report the search string is from the Search History available in most databases. From there, you can cut and paste the search strategy or take a screenshot of the whole page.

In PubMed, search history is on the Advanced search page, which is accessible from your search results:


In Biological Abstracts & Web of Science, Search History is in the upper toolbar.

Click the Edit icon to access a copy-pastable search string:

Saving Searches & Alerts

Most databases allow you to create an account so that you can save searches, set up email alerts from them, and save collections of articles of interest to you. Once you've developed a search strategy that works for a given protocol, this is a great way to store it for future protocols. In most databases, the account login is located in the upper right.

In PubMed, you can save searches, and create alerts and search filters through a My NCBI account. (If you are creating a new account, it's recommended that you use your eRA Commons login, if available).


Once you have a strategy that is working well for you, you can save it by clicking "Create Alert"


Saved searches can be reviewed and managed in My NCBI. Email alerts can also be set up to send you new results as they are added to PubMed.


Animal Research Reporting Standards

Research reporting standards provide minimum guidelines and recommendations for reporting research methods and results transparently and in sufficient detail that methods can be critically evaluated and results can potentially be reproduced. Transparent reporting of results can assist in the reduction of animals used in research.