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At the time of its deployment in 2002, RATS, the online database by which you manage your ARC protocols, was considered revolutionary, but it no-longer provides the degree of flexibility and ease of use that we have all come to expect from modern systems. So, not without some trepidation, we are embarking on a complete replacement project.

The purpose of this memo, beyond asking for your patience and understanding during the transition process that will take place over the coming months, is to solicit your input to the project. We see this as a great opportunity to not only improve the user experience, but also to reevaluate the nature of the information and level of detail requested in animal protocols at a time of growing recognition that the regulatory administrative burden endured by investigators may be hampering scientific progress.

In the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to some of you to request your participation in a researcher advisory group. The purpose of this group, which we anticipate meeting every 4-8 weeks for the duration of the project, is to provide user experience feedback to help design the best system possible for the UCLA animal research community. If you would like to participate in this advisory group, please contact one or both of us. We would also like to hear from you if you have suggestions for changes you would like to see implemented in the new system, whether they be specific questions in RATS that you find confusing/irritating or ways to improve data entry. We want to hear your ideas and concerns as we move forward with this important project.

Thank you in advance.

Nigel Maidment
ARC Chair
Jennifer Perkins
RSAWA Director