Openness, a powerful tool to support science

Posted: by Mia Rozenbaum on 24/04/24

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Openness, a powerful tool to support science

The University of Manchester has been committed to the openness agenda for some years, with a number of different initiatives. They have an excellent series of animal research webpages and a well-developed openness programme. In 2022, they were awarded an openness award for shining a light on their animal facilities with a video about a day in the life of an animal technician.  

Led by one of the university’s lab technicians, Rachel, the video gives an engaging overview of the facilities, species used, and the areas of research being studied.  

“As part of our openness policy, we wanted to produce some content for BOARD – Be Open about Animal Research Day –highlighting the work of our brilliant animal technologists. It was a way of showcasing how proud we are of their work and their high standards of care. There was no better way to do that than to take the public around in a video and show Rachel’s work ,” explains Mike Addelman, Media Relations Officer at the University of Manchester.  

The University of Manchester has a proud culture of care among its staff working with animals, based on collaboration and the highest standards of animal husbandry. They have been proactive in building and maintaining a sustainable environment where animal welfare, human wellbeing, scientific quality and transparency with stakeholders and the public are paramount. They were eager to share this vision across social media using a wide variety of platforms.

Reaction to the video has been hugely positive, as Mike Addelman explains:

“Social media was actually a really helpful tool to spread our message. It wasn’t hard to talk about animal research, especially as we feel proud about the work that goes on here and our high welfare standards. Recognising the work behind it was important, and the university has long recognised that being open is very useful. We had absolutely no negative feedback from the video, only supportive and positive comments.”

Reaching several thousands of views, the video reflects the university’s desire to advance education, knowledge, and understanding around animal research. Mike Addelman puts it like this:

“The bottom line is, we recognise the deep need for scientific research and strive to stop the potential for it to be undermined through inaccurate and misleading commentary in social, online, and traditional media. Our role as comms professionals should be to support scientific research involving animals by making it accessible and relevant so the public know what scientists do, and the high standards with which they do it.

“Talking in lay terms the public can understand is a key point. But even more importantly, if we are not transparent, accusations of secrecy can also make it more difficult for scientists to do their job. So really, it’s the need for good ethical science which inspires our openness agenda in this important field. I urge communications, engagement and other professionals working in our scientific institutions to embrace this important agenda.”




The University of Manchester, along with 127 other higher education institutions, bioindustry companies, charities and research councils who have signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, is committed to transparency and public engagement on animal research. Like all signatories, they are committed to:   

  • being clear about when, how and why they use animals in research 
  • enhancing their communications with the media and the public about our research using animals 
  • being proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals 
  • reporting on progress annually and sharing their experiences.


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Openness in animal research

Last edited: 25 April 2024 15:34

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