Electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) are gaining traction

By ASN Staff

Electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNS) are increasingly being used by researchers and scientists. “ELNs comprise software that helps researchers to document experiments, and that often has features such as protocol templates, collaboration tools, support for electronic signatures and the ability to manage the lab inventory". As younger individuals, who tend to expect and embrace electronic systems in general, begin to fill research roles, they are electing to use ELNs as well. Though use is growing, as there are currently 72 active ELN products, they are not yet ubiquitous.

“Advocates tout the many advantage of ELNs over their paper counterparts. They are easy to search, copy and archive. And thanks to templates, scientists don’t have to rewrite protocols. Researchers can link experiments to specific samples or files, as well as share information easily with other lab members and collaborators, facilitating reproducibility. And supervisors can monitor the activity of their teams remotely”.

“But there are downsides, too. Although many companies offer free versions of their ELN software, those often come with limits on the number of users, data storage or file size. If the company folds or raises its prices, researchers might find themselves with only a PDF export of their data, which they are then unable to transfer to a competing product. Network interruptions could temporarily restrict access to data. And researchers might still prefer to make some notes or sketches on paper at the bench, which must then be imported into the ELN”.

For more information on ELNs and for tips on how to select the right ELN for your purposes, please read the full article from Nature.

 

 

 

Photo by Cameron Neylon

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Electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNS) are increasingly being used by researchers and scientists. “ELNs comprise software that helps researchers to document experiments, and that often has features such as protocol templates, collaboration tools, support for electronic signatures and the ability to manage the lab inventory". As younger individuals, who tend to expect and embrace electronic systems in general, begin to fill research roles, they are electing to use ELNs as well. Though use is growing, as there are currently 72 active ELN products, they are not yet ubiquitous.

“Advocates tout the many advantage of ELNs over their paper counterparts. They are easy to search, copy and archive. And thanks to templates, scientists don’t have to rewrite protocols. Researchers can link experiments to specific samples or files, as well as share information easily with other lab members and collaborators, facilitating reproducibility. And supervisors can monitor the activity of their teams remotely”.

“But there are downsides, too. Although many companies offer free versions of their ELN software, those often come with limits on the number of users, data storage or file size. If the company folds or raises its prices, researchers might find themselves with only a PDF export of their data, which they are then unable to transfer to a competing product. Network interruptions could temporarily restrict access to data. And researchers might still prefer to make some notes or sketches on paper at the bench, which must then be imported into the ELN”.

For more information on ELNs and for tips on how to select the right ELN for your purposes, please read the full article from Nature.

 

 

 

Photo by Cameron Neylon

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Monday, August 13, 2018