In this session, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Dr. Ralitsa Madsen covers why using an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) is a great idea. Dr. Madsen suggests that there are many rewards in using ELN for a reproducible workflow and they include:
- Saving a lot of time while reading, searching the documents and so on.
- If you are a postgraduate or graduate student, it will be more convenientwhile retrieving the details that you need for materials and methods section of your research.
- ELN makes it easier to collaborate not only within but also outside of the group.
- Lab members can pick up where you left off, therefore it ensures the continuity of the research.
- It is much safer to rely on an ELN rather than your hard drive. Your documents will be accessible even if your computer gets damaged/stolen.
- It is necessary to have an extensive documentation, version control and traceability of your work if you would like to make a patent application.
- In addition, RSpace is well-integrated with many other services like Mendeley, Microsoft Office, Dropbox, Google Drive as well as data repositories like Git Hub.
After naming several great reasons, Dr. Madsen goes on to do a walk-through of the tool and gives useful tips to facilitate RSpace adoption within the lab:
First, you should think FAIR: are your documents easily findable? Are they accessible to researchers inside or outside of the lab? Is it interpretable? Can others read through the lab book and reuse your protocol for their experiment?
But for this to work, says Dr. Madsen, you also need to create;
- A lab book entry template which will ensure consistency and make it easier to collaborate,
- Notebook based project organisation,
- Data storage rules that are motivating to use external repositories and
- Consistent file naming rules
Do not forget to check Dr. Ralitsa Madsen’s RSpace demonstration on Edinburgh Reproducibility’s YouTube channel if you haven’t already!
This blog is written by Bengü Kalo
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