According to the Animal Welfare Act regulations, "the ACUC shall determine that the principal investigator has considered alternatives to procedures that may cause more than slight pain or distress to the animals, and has provided a written narrative of the methods and sources used to determine that alternatives were not available". The ACUC is also responsible for ensuring that the proposed research does not unnecessarily duplicate other research.

While there are various sections of the NCI at Frederick Animal Study Proposal that address the issue of alternative considerations and non-duplicative research, the ACUC will require a database reference search for all studies (regardless of species) that propose Category 3 (unrelieved pain or generalized discomfort) procedures. In these situations, the PI is required to provide the ACUC with the following information under Section G of the NCI Animal Study Proposal form to demonstrate good-faith effort: (1) a statement describing the consideration of alternatives to procedures listed for Category 3; (2)  the PI's determination that alternatives were not available for use in his/her study; and (3) a database reference statement to include the databases searched, the date of the search, period covered, and keywords used.

The following bibliographic databases can be utilized to assist with an investigator's database reference search:

The following sites provide additional information on animal welfare and alternatives: