Research organizations are challenged as never before to conceive and develop innovative scientific solutions rapidly and efficiently. Technology has made immense amounts of research information available at a keystroke—information that can spark creativity and new collaboration opportunities. However, scientists recording, managing and archiving research data in paper lab notebooks cannot keep up with this data deluge. Notes are illegible and data are lost, resulting in project teams having to repeat expensive experimentation because earlier work is difficult or impossible to find. Going paperless with a digital solution—specifically an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)—has provided the breakthrough many organizations required, yet failed implementations abound. A successful digital transition requires careful due diligence in assessing an organization’s core requirements and available ELN technology in the context of a well defined implementation plan that includes a pilot program.
This white paper examines the challenges of managing research data today and what to look for in an ELN. The white paper also addresses key issues in selecting and deploying an ELN in today’s digital research environment including the importance of seamlessly integrating ELNs with existing research workflows. The white paper concludes with a brief consideration of ELN costs, financial benefits and return on investment (ROI).