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) & application/task-specific ELNs exist, each with their own fans.
Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying an ELN
- 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?
Top ten features/factors survery respondents look for in ELNs:
|Ease of use||99%|
|Service and support||99%|
|Ease of Installation||94%|
The primary purpose for the ELNs used in our readers' labs:
|Infastructure for capturing,accessing and sharing experimental information||21%|
|Accelerating the documentation and reporting of experimentation||12%|
|Centralized data repositories||9%|
|Streamlined regulatory compliance||6%|
|Improved communication between instruments and related software||3%|
|Enabling scientists to collaborate effectively on multi-stage projects||3%|
|Workflow coordination across geographic and business boundaries||3%|
|Intellectual property (IP) protection||3%|
|All of the above||29%|
Types of ELNs respondents currently have:
The biggest challenge survey respondents are facing on an ELN purchase:
|Data migration into the new system||29%|
|Staff adaptation and training||22%|
|Integration with other systems||17%|
|Investing in software that will become obsolete||13%|
Completed surveys : 247
For more information on ELNs, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/eln