Choosing an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) that will support your organization’s growth requires you to see big picture, while not overlooking the details of day-to-day research. At a high level, you need to find a long-term solution that will continue to support your organization as it adds new users, research ventures, and partners. On a more granular level, you need to scrutinize whether the ELN can support the workflows of all researchers working across your R&D pipeline. Once you pick a solution, you’ll need to quickly establish best practices so your teams can continue to make the most of their time and data, even as experiments and results accumulate in the ELN.
Your ELN Should Grow With You
ELN options are plentiful and wide-ranging—from broad solutions to discipline-centric products. Finding a solution that satisfies the competing needs of different stakeholders can be challenging. This is where Dotmatics ELN shines.
Dotmatics' ELN isn’t just a solution for one or two research teams. It can serve users working across the entire R&D pipeline. Because Dotmatics ELN can capture all the varied experiments that occur throughout make-test-decide research workflow, all teams benefit from experiments that are repeatable, searchable, and auditable. Dotmatics ELN seamlessly handles diverse data as they flow through countless iterations of analyses by different research teams, such as sequence groups, analytical chemists, and formulations teams. It then unites all scientific project data into a highly-searchable single source of truth. The result? A truly collaborative ELN that empowers researchers to make better informed decisions and quickly progress their projects.
Beyond its pervasiveness, the Dotmatics ELN also supports its users growth by offering a:
One stop shop: The Dotmatics ELN is part of the larger Dotmatics research platform. With Dotmatics, you can continue to build out your lab of the future by exposing additional tools from the ELN, including solutions for instrument-data collection, lab-request management, registration, inventory management, informatics, analytics, and AI/ML. And because Dotmatics solutions are built on an open data architecture, you can even tie in proprietary and third-party vendor solutions.
Web-based thin client: The Dotmatics ELN works with either Windows or Mac with nothing more than a browser and internet connection. All your various sites and partners can leverage the same solution, even if they have low bandwidth or limited IT support.
Modular subscription model: There is no big upfront investment with Dotmatics ELN. You can pick and choose what functionality you want to expose and then pay per user. This means a low barrier for entry onto an ELN that can easily scale as you grow. With Dotmatics ELN, you can quickly add new users with specific permission levels at any time.
Choice of hosting options: You can host the server supporting Dotmatics ELN yourself, or you can have Dotmatics do it for you, thereby eliminating the need to hire internal support staff, such as server or database administrators. With flexible on-demand compute resources, you can run complex analyses with ease and seamlessly upload results into the ELN.
Dotmatics ELN Best Practices
With numerous users contributing to one central Dotmatics ELN, you’ll need to establish best practices to keep your data and experiments accurate, searchable, and secure. Failing to do so can create issues. For example, experiments that are poorly recorded may not be reproducible, or they may lead redundant efforts. Data that are improperly labeled may become unsearchable. Compounds that are registered without full details may duplicated. Permissions that aren’t well defined may threaten confidentiality. Avoid the pitfalls of a poorly managed ELN by establishing best practices around protocol templates, data tagging, and permissions.
Ensure that all experiments being recorded in your Dotmatics ELN remain standardized, repeatable, and searchable by creating a protocol template library. Unlike other solutions on the market, Dotmatics ELN provides a lot of options when it comes to templates. You can:
Develop a library of protocol templates across disciplines: Dotmatics' ELN offers many customizable, pre-configured protocol templates to help capture the detailed steps of highly-structured experiments. Dotmatics' ELN can support several diverse workflows, including those commonly used in biology, chemistry, and chemicals/materials research. Data entry can be either forms-based or free-form. Dotmatics' ELN can also be set up to pull data directly from instruments, corporate databases, inventories, internal libraries, etc. This helps reduce errors and eliminates time-sinks related to manual data uploading and processing. From a usability standpoint, tab-based experiment organization helps manage the many intricacies of multi-step workflows.
Create flexible protocols as needed: Dotmatics' ELN also accommodates the creation of flexible protocol templates. Flexible templates help support ad hoc experimentation, which may be common in target-identification efforts, discovery-biology experiments, or chemical and materials research. These types of non-standardized experiments are typically very fluid and involve exceptionally diverse data sets. By offering flexible protocol templates, Dotmatics ELN gives researchers the freedom to capture their unique workflows, while still ensuring their experiment details and results flow into the same united, searchable ELN being used by other teams across the organization.
Organizations often use Dotmatics' ELN on multiple teams across disciplines and locations. As a result, the system collects tons of diverse data, including raw data, tables, figures, results, and more. Following best practices around data tagging will help make sure it’s as easy to get data out of Dotmatics ELN as it was to get it in. You can use Dotmatics' ELN to:
Develop detailed naming conventions and data tags: Establishing detailed naming conventions and filling in all required metadata helps ensure data can be easily correlated back to specific users, compounds, sequences, projects, CROs, etc. This, in turn, impacts searching, auditing, permission granting, and reporting. Factors to consider in your naming conventions and metatags include might include:
project number or name
Establish automatic checks and balances: Another way to make sure you’re intaking clean data is to create automatic checks and balances in Dotmatics ELN. For example, you can create an automatic QC check that flags whether a new entry has missing or erroneous data. If you’ve added registration capability to your Dotmatics ELN, you can set up the system to crosscheck all new registrations against an existing registration database. If an entry is unique, it will be registered; if it isn’t, the existing registration can be supplemented with the new data.
Dotmatics ELN unites teams and data. As such, proper permissions must be in place so that teams can work unison, without risking critical errors or confidentiality breaches. Dotmatics ELN facilitates this in a few different ways. For example, you can:
Create signing and countersigning workflows: Set up signing and counter-signing workflows with push notifications to protect IP and ensure the integrity of your projects and data.
Fine-tune role-based permissions: Define access levels to different data sources, templates, and functionality. For example, lab technicians may be allowed to only see data relevant to a specific test, whereas scientists may be able to analyze the totality of data that makes up a specific experiment.
Facilitate secure CRO collaboration: Control what Dotmatics ELN capabilities your CRO partners have. For example, Dotmatics ELN can be set up to block CROs from direct registration capabilities, instead entering their compounds into an internal review queue. The system can facilitate one-way-only data upload, including batch uploading for time savings. CROs can be limited to just viewing select data, blocking out unauthorized viewing as well as any ability to make edits or deletions to the database. Also, aliases and codes can be used to obscure the names of compounds, assays, and projects from CROs.
Let Dotmatics Help
Whether you’re making the leap from paper or upgrading to a more all-encompassing ELN, you may have a host of both big-picture and fine-detail concerns—from maintaining productivity during the switch, to satisfying the needs of different research groups, to positioning your company for growth. The Dotmatics team has successfully delivered Dotmatics ELN to rave reviews at companies all sizes—from academics and start-ups to top ten biopharma and chemicals companies.
Request a demonstration of Dotmatics to discuss all your questions, both big and small.