Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) are web applications designed to support research groups in defining experimental protocols, documenting experiments, and storing datasets (or references to datasets). ELNs may provide additional functionality including support for inventory management, creation of databases, and the ability to define workflows, including sign-off steps for PIs to check experimental design. ELNs may also support publication by enabling researchers to export methods, results and data, and make specific pages within the ELN public.
This project has gone through two phases: (1) interviewing and surveying PIs and Researchers to establish high-level requirements and demand, together with discussing ELN provision with colleagues at Wisconsin, QMUL Barts Cancer Institute, MIT and Edinburgh; (2) evaluating and shortlisting commercial ELN products based on functionality, information security, current reference sites and the criteria identified through Phase 1. The third phase will run until November 2020 and will support the adoption of ELN solutions by research groups through partnering with two third-party ‘cloud’ service providers: LabArchives and ResearchSpace.