Modern behavioural scientists have come to acknowledge that individual animals may respond differently to the same stimuli and that the quality of welfare and lived experience can affect behavioural responses. However, much of the foundational research in behavioural science lacked awareness of the effect of both welfare and individuality on data, bringing their results into question. This oversight is rarely addressed when citing seminal works as their findings are considered crucial to our understanding of animal behaviour. Furthermore, more recent research may reflect this lack of awareness by replication of earlier methods – exacerbating the problem. The purpose of this review is threefold. First, we critique seminal papers in animal behaviour as a model for re-examining past experiments, attending to gaps in knowledge or concern about how welfare may have affected results. Second, we propose a means to cite past and future research in a way that is transparent and conscious of the abovementioned problems. Third, we propose a method of transparent reporting for future behaviour research that (i) improves replicability, (ii) accounts for individuality of non-human participants, and (iii) considers the impact of the animals' welfare on the validity of the science. With this combined approach, we aim both to advance the conversation surrounding behaviour scholarship while also serving to drive open engagement in future science.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Volsche, Shelly; Root-Gutteridge, Holly; Korzeniowska, Anna T.; and Horowitz, Alexandra. (2023). "Centring Individual Animals to Improve Research and Citation Practices". Biological Reviews, 98(2), 421-433. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12912