Call for Papers: Constituting Animal Research

This special issue aims to bring together work in the social science and humanities on the regulatory themes associated with animal research and knowledge production resulting from it, including but not limited to professionalisation, transparency, the 3Rs (reduction, refinement, and replacement), societal interest and concerns, global harmonisation, translational research, and biocontainment.

Constituting Animal Research: International perspectives on the governance of laboratory animal use and care

Call for Papers: Special Issue in Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Editors: Prof Rachel A. Ankeny (Departments of History and Philosophy, University of Adelaide) and Prof Gail Davies (Department of Geography, University of Exeter)

Submission Deadline: 9 December 2019

Why focus on the changing constitutional forms of animal research?

Developments in the biosciences are associated with, or ‘co-constituted’ through, the creation of new social relations (Jasanoff 2003). There are many dimensions to these processes: one important aspect relates to the establishment and redefinition of rights, responsibilities, and obligations in law and broader social frameworks that contribute to informal governance (Hilgartner et al. 2015). These constitutions include formal legal and technical instruments, for instance governmental acts permitting animal experimentation subject to certain conditions, but also include the social imaginaries embedded in them, including what are considered to be acceptable or important research questions, concepts of animal sentience, and social expectations about animal care and public investment in research.

Constitutions change historically, often in quite radical ways, and vary geographically, despite emergence of global norms about some basic principles underlying animal research (Davies et al 2018). Thus, identification and exploration of regulatory regimes and their evolution allows reflection on the range of perspectives involved in animal research, and the ways in which relations between them are imagined and managed by various parties. Focus on changing regulatory regimes in relation to animal research and welfare allows recent history to be connected to current practices using a range of methodological approaches and permits exposure of gaps between institutional practices and social imaginaries.

Why are interdisciplinary and international perspectives on animal research needed?

Understanding the governance associated with animal use and care in science requires an interdisciplinary approach and close attention to the intersection of legal practices, scientific procedures and social attitudes in relation to the biological and biomedical sciences. We welcome submissions from many disciplinary perspectives including geography, history, philosophy, social, and/or legal/regulatory studies of biological and biomedical sciences or animal studies.

The special issue arose out of a recent workshop on Animal Research Unbound‚ jointly convened by the Australian Research Council grant project “Organisms and Us” based at the University of Adelaide and the Animal Nexus project funded by the Wellcome Trust. We are particularly interested in further scholarship which explores animal research in geographic and legal contexts beyond the United Kingdom and its intersection with diverse communities including but not limited to researchers.

Submission of abstracts

Please send your abstracts of max. 200 words by 9th December 2019 to and We will invite full papers by 1 April 2020. Full papers should follow the general Guide for Authors of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.


Davies, G., Greenhough, B., Hobson-West, P., & Kirk, R. G. W. (2018). Science, Culture, and Care in Laboratory Animal Research: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the History and Future of the 3Rs. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 43(4), 603–621.

Hilgartner, S., Miller, C. and Hagendijk, R. eds., (2015). Science and democracy: making knowledge and making power in the biosciences and beyond. London: Routledge

Jasanoff, S., (2003). In a constitutional moment: science and social order at the millennium. In Social studies of science and technology: Looking back, ahead (pp. 155-180). Netherlands: Springer Publishing