Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Laboratory animals

German initiative opens up animal data

Reliable and transparent data are essential to discussions of suffering in animal experimentation. A new initiative in Germany provides user-friendly public information about authorized animal-research projects.

The European directive to protect laboratory animals (2010/63/EU) requires researchers to provide an anonymous, non-technical summary of a proposed project, stating its purpose and potential benefits. The summaries also detail the number and types of animal to be used, the predicted harm to the animals and the evidence of compliance with the '3R' principles (see The severity of animal suffering and the likely human benefits are central to the approval process.

Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has created a freely accessible, searchable website of these summaries to provide the public with clear insight into animal experiments (see Summaries are available to all EU member states, which could all set up similar open-access databases.

The summaries provide a unique channel for scientists to communicate their work to the public. They are a milestone in attempts to safeguard transparency in animal research, which is particularly controversial in the case of non-human primates.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gilbert Schönfelder.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Schönfelder, G. German initiative opens up animal data. Nature 519, 33 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing