As the society is increasingly becoming digital in nature, paper lab notebooks have gradually evolved to electronic/digital notebooks. Ideally, a paper lab notebook is useful for writing down observations, procedures, conclusions, and drawing diagrams and flowcharts by hand. However, Electronic Lab Notebooks, or ELNs, completely remove transcription responsibilities and minimises the risk of data loss, and enable reproducibility and sharing.
An Electronic Lab Notebook is a software tool that replicates an interface just like the page of a paper lab notebook. In an electronic notebook, you can enter observations, notes, protocols and any other data by the use of a mobile device or computer. It offers a plethora of benefits over the traditional notebook.
Benefits of an ELN
Basically, an ELN is supposed to record, centralise and secure scientific information in a manner that is historically accurate, highly searchable, and legally stringent. More so, it needs to provide greater efficiency, secure collaboration, reduced errors and lower research costs as well. Here are the benefits of using an ELN:
- ELNs encourage collaboration among researchers around the world by providing them with a paperless, easier and digitised way of working on projects and experiments.
- ELNs offer security and dependability as compared to paper lab notebooks because all data is collected and stored in the same place.
- ELNs can be used as a legal document, especially when it comes to intellectual and patent property.
- ELNs provide researchers with a seamless manner of monitoring conventions as well as their standardization. These are useful in empowering the reproducibility of experiments and test.
How to Choose the Right Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for Your Laboratory
Researchers go through some difficulty when identifying an electronic laboratory notebook. This is because in the current market, there is a wide array of solutions and they differ based on software capabilities. A good ELN needs to provide a secure environment that protects the integrity of the process and data, while providing flexibility to adopt new changes or processes to the existing ones. The ELN also should allow laboratory data to be input through PCs and mobile devices. Electronic lab notebooks are increasingly becoming a fundamental apparatus in several research facilities in the world. Here are some options to consider before choosing an ELN:
- Cost of acquisition.
Best Electronic Lab Notebooks
SapioScience is an ELN solution provider that fast-tracks research and development across various fields. It pioneers the improvement of Laboratory Information Management Systems. It does so by fusing the core functionalities of LIMS and an ELN.
Sapio provides researchers with lab notebook electronic software that have been designed to suit the complex environment of research and development. With this ELN, researchers can manage all lab and material information in one, shareable cloud-based workbook.
Labarchives is among the pioneer ELN providers which puts emphasis on scientists’ ability to rely on its intuitive and secure cloud-based electronic lab notebook. It is interesting to know that this ELN is used in more than 600 of the best research institutions as well as higher education labs.
Labarchives boasts a highly responsive user-interface and native apps. This platform is very organised that researchers can personalise it to suit their needs. Its key features include chemical sketching, a feature that enables commenting, mentions and alerts, full audit trail, data encryption in transit or at rest, and more.
Benchling is a user-friendly ELN that offers researchers a seamless and unified environment where they can collect their experiment data. It offers plenty of features that encourage a unified data capture across its applications, enables data integrity and traceability. In addition, Benchling uses its cloud-based solution to minimise data entry time by 85%.
It provides reintegrated applications like Molecular Biology, registry, workflows, and inventory. These applications facilitate a seamless experience to the user during the research process. Researchers can link notebook entries, develop standard protocols. They also get a timestamp feature that enhances easy recoverability.
Digitisation and automation
Digitisation and automation have allowed scientists to accomplish an output level like never before imaginable. Electronic lab notebooks have brought a safe, analytical and efficient and data storage as well an interoperable distribution of data. This means that scientists can eradicate manual data exchange, overcome communication challenges and work collaboratively in real-time.