How a Cloud-Based, Expandable Collaboration Tool Works

Problem: For many years, scientists have relied on traditional methods—primarily pen and paper notebooks—to record experimental and clinical data. This method is problematic in the new age of electronic living and working for several reasons. Paper notebooks can be easily lost, damaged or destroyed and often are transported with scientists as they change universities or jobs. Handwritten notes can be difficult to read and nearly impossible to share with anyone outside the immediate vicinity. The cost to academia and scientific research is high—it results in loss of data and in turn, productivity and efficiencies. 

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A recent study estimates that as much as 17 percent of scientific data can be lost1, wasting money and time as researchers are not able to validate or use prior data to support current work.

Some scientists have begun using electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs), which are computer-based programs designed to replace paper notebooks. Traditional ELNs offer many advantages to paper notebooks, but have not fully utilized cloud-based technology to maximize scientific research. For example, the software used is often proprietary and licensed by a large company—and is therefore cost prohibitive to smaller companies, research institutions and much of academia. Further, most ELNs do not provide adequate, secure, cloudbased solutions, which are required to advance scientific collaboration, feedback and sharing.

More than ever, business is moving into the cloud, and the new generation of scientists in academia and the workforce are accustomed to conducting both personal and professional lives online. There is a need for a cost-efficient cloud-based solution for safe, secure record-keeping that eliminates the need for investment in digital infrastructure.

Solution: Moving scientific data collection and collaboration into the cloud using a secure tool will help scientists advance the pace of research, providing for sharing and feedback while assuring scientists of the security of their work and intellectual property. PerkinElmer’s recent launch of the Elements® platform brings to the marketplace a first-ofits kind tool for academic scientists, revolutionizing how they collect and share data. The cloud-based, expandable scientific collaboration tool allows students and scientists to work together to share experimental data and solutions in the lab and classroom. In order for scientists and academia to embrace tools like Elements, several key features are necessary.

The platform needs to be expandable. This sets the stage for quickly moving innovation by delivering an application framework for deep scientific support through modular apps that can be combined into sophisticated scientific experiments. The Elements framework is designed for expansion and can be used to continually create and deploy new scientific applications to academic and commercial users.

Additionally, the offering needs to be 100 percent cloudbased, to offer unique value to students and researchers. Conventional ELNs do not offer cloud capabilities with a standard server-on-site model, but Elements is 100 percent cloud-based, enabling users to be up and running in minutes without the need for lengthy deployment and installation steps. It also enables smaller institutions to use such a platform without purchasing expensive server-based solutions.

Lastly, the tool needs to ensure easy, effective, safe electronic data capture and collaboration. The structure should provide levels of collaboration—with both individual groups and among varying research groups to encourage productive sharing.

For more information, visit http://elements.perkinelmer.com.

1 http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/missinglinks-access-to-research-papers-raw-data-drops-17-a-year/282548/  

Categories: How it Works

Published In

Designing for Science Magazine Issue Cover
Designing for Science

Published: July 10, 2014

Cover Story

Designing for Science

When executive director Graham Shimmield and his colleagues set out to build a new home for Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in 2009, they wanted a structure sensitive to the surroundings of the new locale on the coast of Maine. With the help of their architects, contractors, and engineers, they got just that.

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