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Maximize Efficiencies by Avoiding These 9 Critical Lab Errors

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Keeping your R&D efforts running smoothly depends on a lot of things — teams working in unison, processes being streamlined, errors being reduced, and data remaining accessible. Below are just a few of the critical lab errors and inefficiencies you can avoid to save time and resources.

1. Redundant Efforts

All too often, teams work in isolation, with siloed data and little knowledge of each other’s work. Efforts may be redundant, insights are unshared and failures are often repeated. Labs need to harmonize R&D efforts to avoid this cycle of redundancy.

With all teams using the same system, your organization’s scientific project data are united into single source of truth. Unlike most solutions on the market, Dotmatics can support chemistry, biology, and chemicals & materials teams, whether they’re performing highly standardized experiments or ad hoc research. Teams can easily pass data back and forth, finetune workflows and permissions, and share their insights. With your teams working better together, your organization is positioned to meet its end goals faster.

2. Nonrepeatable Experiments

Because experiments are often improperly recorded, tests aren’t easy to repeat or audit. This can threaten progress and even intellectual property. One way to address this issue is by creating a template for the experiment, including the process for data collection.

Dotmatics' lab notebook lets you create a library of experiment templates across scientific disciplines and captures the intricacies of all types of experiments occurring throughout your entire R&D pipeline. Form-based entry keeps data intake consistent in highly structured experiments, and data collection can be standardized for ad hoc exploration. Dotmatics' digital lab notebook also features tab-based organization to help organize the many details of multi-step workflows, as well as signing and countersigning capabilities to help validate work.

3. Duplicate Registrations

Registration tools often do not have the scientific wherewithal to determine uniqueness for all entity types, causing duplicate registrations. Fortunately, Dotmatics registration tools support single or batch registration of diverse types of entities, including chemical structures, biological entities, and multi-component mixed entities. The system can be set up to crosscheck new registrations against existing registration databases and only register unique entries. If a registration already exists, a duplicate won’t be created; instead, the existing registration will simply be supplemented with the new data.

4. Data-entry Errors

Data-entry errors or omissions can make your experiments and results unsearchable or even worse, invalid.

With the Dotmatics ELN, forms-based entry helps ensure experiments are recorded with all required entries. When it’s time to upload large datasets, Dotmatics' notebook can be set up to pull raw data, results, and metadata directly from laboratory instruments, high-throughput analysis tools, corporate databases, inventories, internal libraries, external sources, etc. This reduces data-entry errors and eliminates time-sinks related to manual uploading and processing. Researchers can create automatic checks-and-balances upon data upload to alert you to missing data or erroneous entries. Every step of the way, Dotmatics' platform helps you meticulously track your experiments and results with clean, reliable data collection.

5. Unsearchable Data

Even with electronic storage of your data, it’s easier to get data into the system than it is to get data out. This often makes the task of searching and parsing through your valuable data cumbersome or impossible, and insights are isolated and ultimately lost. A better system can only improve this error.

The Dotmatics ELN helps you efficiently and cleanly input data by facilitating a variety of upload options, including error-reducing forms entry, drag-and-drop file input, and automatic upload from instruments, inventories, and both internal external databases. Full use of metadata and proper naming conventions helps correlate data back to specific users, compounds, sequences, projects, CROs, etc., which in turn impacts searching.

All data coming into the Dotmatics lab notebook are parsed and federated into a highly-searchable master data source. Unlike many other ELNs, the Dotmatics electronic notebook can handle all types of data—chemistry files (SD files, SMILES), sequence files (e.g., FASTA, FASTQ), materials data (polymers, formulations, samples, physical characterization data), text, images, videos, etc. This scientific acumen, combined with powerful search capabilities, means that no matter what type of data you’re working with, you can get it out of the Dotmatics ELN just as easily as it went in.

6. Security or Confidentiality Breaches

ISO-certified Dotmatics has your back when it comes to data security and confidential collaboration. By delivering its robust collection of applications on a single secure platform, Dotmatics unites scientific project data coming from different teams and standardizes them against common data models. All internal and external multidisciplinary teams can work within the same system. All experiments can be recorded within the same ELN. All data synchronized. All actions captured in an audit trial. But even in this remarkably open and collaborative research environment, security and confidentiality remain protected. How? First, behind the scenes, there is encrypted data transfer on a secure, dedicated AWS instance. Or you can host on-site. (We’re happy to discuss options and the ins-and-outs of securely deploying and maintaining Dotmatics solutions). Within the Dotmatics ELN, you can finetune users’ access to different data sets and functionality, define signing and countersigning requirements, encrypt reports, and assign project codes and aliases when working with CROs. The result? Your teams can work together in real-time, without compromising security or confidentiality.

7. Stalled Projects

In a collaborative research environment, responsibilities often fall across teams. Those teams need a way to efficiently communicate their requests or else projects may stall. For example, one team may need another team to perform a particular assay or analysis before they can push forward with their project. Dotmatics' ELN helps facilitate such scenarios by providing direct access to Dotmatics Cascade, a powerful tool for managing requests, assigning tasks, and monitoring their progress. With full visibility into cross-team requests, projects can progress without delay. No more lost requests. No more unassigned tasks. No more sitting around wondering when you’ll get what you need to keep your project moving forward.

8. Inaccurate Instrument Data

The accuracy of your analyses hinges on your instrument data being precise. But many issues can arise, from collection errors, to processing mistakes, to missing metadata, to undetected instrument drift. Dotmatics automates the acquisition, parsing, and transfer of instrument data into your Dotmatics ELN, saving you time and ensuring that you have clean data for your analysis tools and AI/ML models. Effortlessly collect hundreds of terabytes of data from all your lab tools, including mass spec, HCS, bioreactors, and more. Dotmatics lets you collate your instrument files, log files, parsed data, metadata, experiment results, and analysis calculations directly into one united data lake, so you have a complete, fully searchable, drill-down dataset at your fingertips.

9. Missed Connections

When teams work in isolation, important insights can be missed. Dotmatics’ integrated collection of R&D tools for scientific data collection, instrument integration and data processing help teams work together to efficiently make and test new products. But true collaboration isn’t just about optimizing day-to-day lab workflows. It’s about sharing data to garner insight and guide decisions. This is where Dotmatics distinguishes itself. On top of its solutions for your lab, Dotmatics offers powerful data analysis, visualization, and AI/ML tools that will help make sense of all the diverse data flowing in from the various teams working across your make-test-decide innovation cycle. You can follow data through countless iterations of analysis by different teams, modeling subtle differences and making correlations and predictions. Only Dotmatics can deliver all the tools you need to seamlessly process and analyze the entirety of your R&D data, not just isolated data sets. At every step of the innovation cycle, Dotmatics tools will help your teams not only work efficiently, but also make better decisions, faster.

Minimize Errors in Your Lab

We’ve covered some of the key inefficiencies and problems that many R&D teams face, but of course, you may have your own unique concerns. Contact us today to explore what’s restricting your R&D efforts and how Dotmatics can help.