How to Choose the Most Effective ELN for Your Laboratory

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Image sourced from collaborativedrug.com.

The majority of the academic labs and biotech companies are desperately looking for ways in which they can replace their paper notebook system with an ELN or electronic lab notebook. As there are numerous companies that offer ELNs, all claiming that theirs’ is the best, it is tough to find out which suits your needs. You can’t forget that there is not just one product that can satiate your needs.

While searching for the best ELN for your company, you should first make a list of the most noteworthy features to watch out for. Are you sure about the factors that you should take into account while choosing the best ELN solution for you?

You have to first get educated on the process

Before plunging into investing in an ELN for your company, do research online to get a clear sense of the market. You will find many websites that include detailed information on the features, like support for various digital platforms, cost structure, and where you can store the data. There are sites that will give you a list of the best ELNs in the market and which one is the most cost-effective.

Compute costs of using ELN over traditional paper books

If you check out the cost of paid versions of the majority of the ELN services that are utilized in the field of academia, the costs come up to $10-20 per user every month. If you wish to opt for the free versions of these tools, you’ll be subject to various restrictions and shortcomings, among which the first is lack of storage space. Nevertheless, you can always check out the open-source options of electronic lab notebooks.

Comprehend legal matters of using an ELN

There are a few funders that impose different limitations on where you can store data.

Hence, researchers have to keep it in mind while searching for cloud-based ELNs. In case you’re a scientist who works with data that falls under the scope of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union, or the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) you should check whether or not the data storage of the ELN complies with all the rules.

If you want to protect your highly confidential documents against claims of fraud, you should choose an ELN software that allows all pages to be locked or signed electronically.

Assess the stability of the ELN

Researchers and scientists should determine the chances of survival of the ELN company. There are clients who have chosen an ELN from a particular company only because the executives of the company have already launched a bibliographic management software that is already popular.

It is recommended that you select a company that is a minimum of 5 years old, that has stable funds and that states that users can access their data even when the firm is sold.

Determine whether the ELN runs on mobile devices

There are a few labs that choose ELNs which run on mobile devices. There was a group of chemical engineers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, that wanted to use hand-held devices like mobile or tablets to keep a record of their experiments.

The reason is the portability of the devices and that they can be wiped and cleaned easily. So, if this is your criteria for using, make sure you choose a company like Microsoft, to use the camera for clicking photos of results and the stylus to depict images.

Welcome the new change

In the year 2017, scientists at Cambridge University rated features like support for collab, user interface, and file management capabilities. Though there were several scientists that expressed their enthusiasm for ELNs, only 30 among 165 participants finished the exercise successfully. Hence, there is some acclimatization required.

Therefore, if you want to go digital with your lab notebooks, take into account the above-listed points while choosing one.


By Staff Writer.

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