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Science Data Management for Grad Students

How to organize, store, share and preserve your scientific research data.

Electronic Lab Notebooks

Electronic Lab Notebooks, or ELNs, are being used more frequently by universities and in industry. An ELN can help you organize and share your data, and make preserving it easier.

Most ELNs now have date/time stamps which allow researcher compliance with US FDA 21 CFR Part 11. If your research might be patentable, your PI should discuss the use of ELNs with your institution's general counsel or research offices.

Resources for Selecting an ELN


Kanza, S., Willoughby, C., Gibbins, N., Whitby, R., Frey, J. G., Erjavec, J., ... & Kovač, K. (2017). Electronic lab notebooks: can they replace paper?. Journal of cheminformatics, 9(1), 31.

Kwok, R. (2018). How to pick an electronic laboratory notebook. Nature 560, p. 269-270. doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05895-3 

Nature 481, 430–431 26 (January 2012) doi:10.1038/481430a

Nussbeck, S. Y., Weil, P., Menzel, J., Marzec, B., Lorberg, K., & Schwappach, B. (2014). The laboratory notebook in the 21st century. EMBO reports, 15(6), 631-634.

Oleksik, G., Milic-Frayling, N., & Jones, R. (2014, February). Study of electronic lab notebook design and practices that emerged in a collaborative scientific environment. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing (pp. 120-133). ACM. DOI:10.1145/2531602.2531709


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