Electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs), one component of a lab’s information infrastructure, help laboratories capture and manage knowledge, streamline data management, protect intellectual property, and foster collaboration. Both non-specific/generic ELNs (which compete directly against paper notebooks) and application/task-specific ELNs exist, each with their own enthusiasts.
Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying an Electronic Lab Notebook
- How local are resources and how available are resources for deployment, training and extensions? What is the timeline for availability and cost?
- How easy is it to extend the application? Does it require IT or super users? How long does training take to make modifications and how extensive is the API for modifications?
- How easy is it to get data back out of the system? Is all information indexed and searchable? Can users query and combine data from multiple experiments, not just return a list of experiments?
- What is the typical number of hours of admin time required to upgrade for a major release and a minor release?
- What level of support is offered? How many support staff are there, where are they located and what language do they support? How is the support rated by other customers?
- Is your IP system safe in their system? What is the chance the company will be around in five years? What is the chance that the company will switch technologies and force an expensive migration? What credibility does the company have in the past for delivering robust, scalable, secure, and 21 CFR Part 11 compliant systems?
Types of ELN installations as used by survey respondents:
Primary purpose for ELNs as reported by survey respondents:
|Centralized data repositories||58%|
|Infrastructure for capturing, accessing and sharing experimental information||53%|
|Accelerating the documentation and reporting of experimentation||50%|
|Intellectual property (IP) protection||36%|
|Improved communication between instruments and related software||31%|
|Streamlined regulatory compliance||28%|
|Enabling scientists to collaborate effectively on multi-stage projects||25%|
|Workflow co-ordination across geographic and business boundaries||19%|
|Patent evidence creation||19%|
Nearly 37% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new ELN. The greatest challenges faced in the process include:
|Upgrading existing ELNs||
|Accelerating the documentation and reporting of experimentation||
|Centralized data repositories||
|Infrastructure for capturing, accessing, and sharing experimental information||
|Streamlined regulatory compliance||
|Setting up a new lab||
Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing an Electronic Lab Notebook:
|Ease of use||86%|
|Service and support||64%|
|Ease of installation||54%|
For more information on electronic lab notebooks, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/ELN
See results from previous surveys: