Assign staff to monitor security efforts, deploy campus resources as necessary, and communicate with affected researchers. Ensure that these personnel are on call at all times and have the ability to easily communicate with top administration officials. The burden of designing and executing a security plan lies with the university or institution, not the researcher.
Develop a plan with local law enforcement. An effective, rapid, coordinated, and sustained response by local law enforcement will provide adequate physical security measures for targeted researchers on and off campus.
Develop a formal process for responding to threats against personal and physical safety. This process will be initiated, formulated, and communicated by upper level administration, and maintained by the appropriate staff.
Establish an organizational structure that anticipates and forestalls threats to a researcher. This will not require the investigator to initiate protective measures.
Establish or strengthen security protocols. Immediate response services will be created or extended to better support faculty who experience harassment at their home.
Ensure regular and effective communications between security personnel and community law enforcement to avoid gaps in protection. Researchers under personal attack should not be “outside of the jurisdiction” of law enforcement.
3. Public Affairs and Communications
Actively pursue the introduction and passage of federal, state, and local legislation and regulations that would protect research. Similarly, it is in the best interest of the scientific community that research institutions oppose federal, state and local legislative activity that would restrict responsible research.
Urge lawmakers to ensure consistency of protective coverage across jurisdictions. They will work to standardize laws enforced by state and local governments that protect researchers.
Proactively build relationships with reporters to convey accurate information about responsible research, as well as specific research being conducted at the facility. Communications staff will maintain a welcoming environment for media who can accurately portray animal research and its benefits.
Regularly examine student-university organizations, in keeping with standards of protected activity. They will ensure that such organizations are not using their university “sponsorship” to interact with potentially dangerous non-university organizations advocating violence, particularly those classified by law enforcement as domestic terrorist organizations.
OLAW UPDATES ITS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WEBSITE
On February 28, 2008, OLAW updated its frequently asked questions (FAQs) posted initially on its website on the care and use of laboratory animals— http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/faqs.htm, and encouraged research institutions to review and use this site.
The new FAQs on are marked with “new” text to facilitate their review. The new FAQs are listed below:
IACUC Composition, Functions and Authority:
12. How does OLAW define nonscientific and nonaffiliated IACUC members?
Institutional Reporting to OLAW:
5. Are institutions required by FOIA to release information about their research, animal care programs, and IACUCs?
6.What are PHS requirements for recording and reporting minority views?
18. Is it acceptable to have different individuals named as PI on the grant application and the IACUC protocol?
Animal Use and Management:
11. Can IACUCs authorize the adoption of research animals as pets after the animals are no longer needed for study?
12.What are the institution’s responsibilities in ensuring that animals are shipped safely and in reporting adverse events that occur in shipment of animals to or from the institution?
9. How can institutions and their IACUCs best prepare for a pandemic?
OLAW UPDATES SAMPLE OF ANIMALWELFARE ASSURANCE
On February 15, 2008, OLAW informed Public Health Service (PHS) grantee institutions about revisions to the sample Animal Welfare Assurance document (Assurance) they are required to submit.4 PHS-funded institutions that conduct research on live vertebrate animals must submit an acceptable Assurance to OLAW that they comply with the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy).5 Effective April 15, 2008:
- OLAW will no longer accept curriculum vitae of the veterinarian or IACUC members; descriptions of the institutional occupational health and safety program; and descriptions of the animal care and use training program, as attachments. Instead, these sections must be included in the body of the Assurance document. OLAW will continue to accept in attachment form the organizational chart of the animal care and use program; the list of IACUC members; and facility and species inventory forms.
- Institutions that are not accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), must submit their semiannual inspection reports.
- Part III, Section E of the Assurance has been eliminated from the Assurance, because this requirement is completed as part of the electronic grant application.
- Institutions may submit their Assurances based on the new sample Assurance in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Best Practices for Protecting Researchers and Research: recommendations for Universities and Institutions. Society for Neuroscience. http://www.sfn.org/skins/main/pdf/gpa/Best_Practices_for_Protecting.pdf
- SfN Releases Best Practices for Protecting Researchers and Research. February 6, 2008. http://www.sfn.org/index.cfm?pagename=gpa_news_2_6_2008_2
- The Society for Neuroscience releases best practices for protecting researches & research. News Release NR-02-08. February 6, 2008. http://www.sfn.org/index.cfm?pagename=news_020608
- Update of Sample Animal Welfare Assurance. Notice Number: NOT-OD-08-049. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), Office of Extramural Research. February 15, 2008.
- Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/phspol.htm.
Veterinarian Moshe Shalev, MSc (Genetics), VMD, is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. A recognized expert in medicine, management, and facility designs of small, farm, and exotic laboratory animals, he publishes regularly on animal welfare regulations.