10 Reasons to Ditch Paper and Switch to Electronic Lab Notbooks

10 Reasons to Ditch Paper and Switch to Electronic Lab Notbooks

Electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) were created to solve a number of limitations that scientists face when using traditional paper notebooks to track the progress of their research. Nonetheless, academic and government labs have not significantly shifted from traditional lab notebooks. On the other hand, about 1/3rd of the biopharmaceutical industry has reported that it has adopted the electronic notebook as its method for recording and maintaining data.

Though the familiarity of paper lab notebooks makes them attractive to scientists, many other reported advantages, such as portability, ease of use, and ability to include non-text images and drawing, are now capabilities of electronic lab notebooks as well. ELNs also have a number of added benefits that traditional paper notebooks do not have. So without further ado, here are 10 advantages of electronic lab notebooks over paper lab notebooks:

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5 Ways Google+ Can Advance Your Research Career

5 Ways Google+ Can Advance Your Research Career

Google+ never became quite as popular as Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. So if you're already struggling to keep up with your social media accounts, it's easy to write Google+ off as just one more time waster. But if Facebook is the place to share family photos and Twitter is the spot to spout off witty one-liners, Google+ is the place for grown-ups to network, engage in substantive discussion, and capitalize on the fledgling social network's impressive array of features. Once you get the hang of things, you may just find that Google+ proves almost as invaluable as your electronic lab notebook...

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Impact of Open Data Movement on Data Management and Publishing

Impact of Open Data Movement on Data Management and Publishing

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

The open access movement predates the Internet (to about the 1950's), and various models were proposed to increase access to academic research. Self-archiving (the act of depositing a free copy of an electronic document on the Internet in order to provide open access to it) has been common for computer scientists since at least the 1980s. In physics, it has become the norm and some sub-areas like high-energy physics have a 100% self-archiving rate. Interestingly, the two major physics publishers, American Physical Society and Institute of Physics Publishing have reported that the free archive has had no effect on journal subscriptions in physics; even though articles are freely available, usually before publication.

In 1997 when the US National Library of Medicine made Medline available freely in the form of PubMed, the usage of this database increased ten-fold.

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4 Ways to Reliably Reproduce Research

Recent studies indicate that at least 70% of certain types of research (particularly around life sciences) is not reproducible. Funders, reviewers, and researchers are increasingly demanding improved processes to improve reproducibility rates.

Rather than just talking about the problem, we'd like to share some practical effective tips for improving your lab's research reproducibility.

Click below to view the webinar recorded Oct. 29, 2014, and join the discussion!

Super Mario, Minions, and Labguru

Earlier this week, we released a new plate element to Labguru's experiments and protocols modules. We claimed it's versatile and powerful. Did we mention it's also fun? Check out Stas's plate art:

mario-plate
minions-plate

Want to try your hand at plate art? Signup for a Labguru trial, open a project, add a plate to an experiment procedure, then share your results in the comments below!

Labguru Steps up to the Plate

Though Jeter is no longer stepping up to the plate, we're just getting started. In close consultation with customers including Victoria Yoon from Gladstone's Huang Lab and Alexander Chamessian from Duke's Ji Lab we've rolled out the ability to add a plate element to your protocol and experiment layouts. You may select the plate size, and quickly define the contents of each well. Here's a short video to see it in action:

Well, well, well. Researchers may now easily and intuitively define the contents of each well in their plates, and link each sample and plate to its experiment. 

As always, researchers can connect plates and samples to make it easy to keep track of your research activities.

We're already working on improving the plate layout, with plans like:

  • Adding tool-tips when hovering above each well
  • Saving plates in storage
  • Importing plate reader data files

What other functionality would you like to see? Join the discussion below!

Annotate Images on @labguru

Requested by many users, Labguru now supports image annotations. No matter where your image belongs - whether in a document, milestone, protocol or an experiment's result - you can now quickly annotate it. Draw attention and better document what is seen.

annoatations.gif

We know that you generate tons of images, now it is easier to embed these and draw / write on them, highlighting key features. 

Once you annotate your images, you can download the annotated file or the original:

downoad.png

Also annotated images will appear on your timeline, pdf reports for projects and experiments. 

If you've already uploaded images to your Labguru account, try annotating one now. Or open a 30-day free trial to get started.

Happy annotating!

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Jonathan Gross

Jonathan founded BioData out of his passion to integrate technology and science. In addition to founding the company, Jonathan is also the Chief Technologist of the company. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Computer Science from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and a Masters degree in Biotechnology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As a scientific researcher Jonathan worked on enhancing the nutritional value of plants through molecular engineering and plastid transformation. Jonathan is also one of the founders of The BioExecutive Forum, a non-profit organization founded by and for executives from the Israeli Biomed industry.

Lenny and ZappyLab: His Twisted Path to Science Start-Up Success

Lenny and ZappyLab: His Twisted Path to Science Start-Up Success

A college math major isn’t the most likely candidate to help establish a growing and successful suite of products supporting life science research. And hearing him describe it, the twisted path from math to biology start-up seems like an adventurous hike up a mountain. In the early days of millennium, Lenny Teytleman was a math major at Columbia with a serious disdain for biology. His path began to warp in his final year of college. While picking up a CompSci minor on the side, he “accidentally took a computational biology class,” and realized…“Oh crap! Biology is what I want to do!” And so Lenny entered grad school in Berkeley for a Computational and Experimental Biology degree. He spent 6 years learning to biology side of life – learning how to do experiments, and how not to do experiments. He fell in love with the lifestyle – “I love teaching, I love research” – and so decided to remain in academia and started pursuing a post-doc at MIT...

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Romance in the Lab

Romance in the Lab

Reflecting on my Ph.D studies, I realize how much time I spent in the lab, in the presence of my lab colleagues. In effect, I spent more time with my colleagues than with my spouse and son! Considering the life style of scientists, working long hours with more frustrations than happiness, sometimes a lab colleague can understand your predicament better than your friends back home. With so much time at the lab and a common interest at hand, it is not surprising that you hear about scientists finding love in between their experiments and classes...

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Open Access vs. Subscription-Based Scientific Publications

Open Access vs. Subscription-Based Scientific Publications

The scientific publication niche is a bottomless pot of gold, with more than $9 billion annual revenue (as of 2011) from readers/universities (subscription-based journals) and from the authors themselves (open-access journals). This is not surprising, since scientific endeavor has never reclined, and with the fierce competition for academic positions, scientific publication rates will likely only increase. The recent decade has seen the rise of the open access journal publications which offer a slightly different concept of peer-reviewed scientific publication to the more traditional subscription-based journals.

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