Today, you are able to gather information during a few hours on line that used to take weeks and sometimes months to acquire. In some cases, information is available today on line that was not available through any means even a few years ago.
This page explains how to gather basic information about research projects that may be occurring near you.
External Anti-Vivisection Websites
General Search Engines
The longer documents remain on the internet, the more likely general search engines will find them.
Google is an exceptionally fast and powerful engine. When trying to find a facility's homepage, a researcher's homepage, or a facility's page for a staff member, Google is hard to beat. Sometimes you can even find a photograph of the person. Google also maintains caches of documents no longer online.
Two important sources for finding out what a researcher is up to are the National Library of Medicine's PubMed, and MEDLINE on Scirus, the search engine for science, at http://www.scirus.com
These databases are compilations of research abstracts and citations from hundreds of biomedical journals. Researcher's publishing histories are easily found. A couple hints: PubMed includes more listings than Medline, but Medline has a couple of handy features. If you are unsure what the researcher's initials are, start with Medline. When you find the person of interest, click on their name and you will get back their publishing history.
If you do know their name and initials, with Medline, use this form:
This person might have been Edward S. Smith. The ":au" means that Smith is the author.
Often, with Medline and PubMed, the first author's address will be given at the bottom of the entry. This can be valuable information.
For a fee, you can order any journal articles you are interested in from Medline. This is difficult with PubMed unless you are affiliated with a medical library.
The Department of Defense (DoD) also has a searchable database. The web address changes periodically, and the search engine is less than user friendly. It is almost as if the DoD does not want the public to know what is going on in its laboratories.
Currently, the link to access the search engine is located at:
Among online anti-vivisection researchers, the best known and most commonly used reference is CRISP database.
"CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects) is a searchable database of federally funded biomedical research projects conducted at universities, hospitals, and other research institutions. The database, maintained by the Office of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health, includes projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), Agency for Health Care Policy Research (AHCPR), and Office of Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH). Users, including the public, can use the CRISP interface to search for concepts, emerging trends and techniques, or identify specific projects and/or investigators."
CRISP has been recently integrated with the NIH Office of Extramural Research grants database to form NIH RePORT: Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. Searching with the query tool RePORTER is very similar to searching with CRISP, but it is much easier to use and gives you much more information. Among other amazing tricks, RePORTER can automatically connect a scientist's NIH grant with all the publications and patents associated with it - so you can see what the money was supposed to be used for as well as what it was actually used for.
Freedom of Information Act
There will always be information impossible to find on line that will require direct requests from an institution itself. Typically, universities and other facilities hate to share incriminating information. They dislike turning over documents that demonstrate their cruelty, lack of oversight, negligence, or simple incompetence. A polite note requesting information such as necropsy reports, IACUC minutes, approved protocols, or clinical records is unlikely to be very productive. It is almost always necessary to resort to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or a state's open records laws.
"There are several sites that offer sample letters for a state open records or FOIA request that you can modify and send to your target institution. Some organizations, like the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press, even provide a FOIA letter generator which takes your information and formats it into a FOIA request for you."
Finally, if all else fails, and if you are unable to find the information you need, or need help with using a particular resource, you can always ask In Defense of Animals for help. If you do have questions regarding research, please try to be specific.
Animal experiments thrive while hidden away from the light of public scrutiny. Shining the light of skepticism on the process is the first, important step toward saving their lives. Good luck!