Increasingly, science is relying on heavy data analytics to better understand the results of the experiments. This means that wet labs and data labs often have to work closely together, but they are not always located physically near each other. When labs are on opposite ends of the building, campus, or country, collaboration can be challenging. One way that organizations are addressing this challenge is to implement an electronic lab notebook (ELN) solution.
So Much More Than An Electronic Lab Notebook
As with many 21st century innovations, an electronic lab notebook can do a lot more than its analog counterpart. In addition to recording experiment data, scientists can share that data with their colleagues, or even with labs at other organizations. The best ELN solutions are programmed to ensure that all data entry and sharing is in compliance with any relevant regulations, and can also track the ownership of data.
More Efficient Collaboration
Implementing an electronic lab notebook can reduce a lot of the friction points and delays in collaborations. Data labs no longer have to wait for the wet lab to share data with them — as soon as it is entered into the ELN system, they can access it. If the data scientists need specific data sets, they can work with the wet lab to design experiment workflows within the ELN, to ensure that the experiment will provide everyone with the data and results they need.
Having an easily accessible system that is implemented across the entire organization allows everyone to work more quickly and efficiently. If a new team comes on board and their project overlaps with an existing project, they can easily be granted access to the relevant data and hit the ground running, so to speak.
A New Era In Laboratory Collaboration
Some people believe that the best practice is to have labs that work together to be located near each other. But that isn’t always possible. We have to work with the space we’re given, and in addition, sometimes collaborative opportunities come up with labs in different locations, or even in different organizations. Additionally, in 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic has limited how much time collaborators can spend together. While wet labs still largely have to work on-site, many data labs may have their scientists working from home.
Distance doesn’t need to stand in the way of progress, however. With electronic lab notebook technology, it’s easy to share data with collaborators around the world. Collaboration can happen across time zones and across national borders. Web and cloud-based ELN systems can often be accessed from different devices, including smartphones, allowing collaborators to participate from wherever they are located.
When wet labs and data labs work together, amazing things can happen. Likewise, when labs in different departments and different organizations find synergy in their data, collaboration can lead to incredible discoveries. ELNs are just one form of technology enabling more collaboration and innovation as data is broken out of silos and shared with the people who can make the best use of it.
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