DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT. A laboratory notebook is the single most important record of research accomplishments. For the investigator, keeping an accurate and detailed record of all experiments is essential to document new discoveries and to allow the experiments to be reproduced by others. The lab notebook is used as a crucial legal document to protect intellectual property. As such maintaining a proper paper record is a requirement for all UCSF lab personnel. However, for a number of reasons outlined below, paper records are rapidly becoming an antiquated format and many institutions are adopting electronic lab notebooks (ELNs).
The vision. Recent technological advances such as the iPad and related devices promise to promote efficiency, compliance, and security to lab notebooks. We have a future vision where a digital tablet is the mainstay laboratory notebook. Before that can happen, laboratories need to adopt the routine practice of keeping digital data appropriately archived. This includes the legally compliant laboratory accreditation criteria found in the ISO 17025 and Title 21 CFR Part 11 standards.
UCSF data are not presently secure. UCSF is a cutting-edge research institution housing thousands of scientists and has a responsibility to ensure its research data are compliant, secure, and in a format that would foster collaboration across its many labs. Currently, UCSF lab notebooks are not kept in a standardized format and are subject to data loss by natural disaster, or equally nefarious, falsification.
DELIVERABLE. A secure and user-friendly ELN web application that can be accessed anywhere and anytime, on desktop computers and mobile devices.
Existing solutions. Over 50 commercial vendors offer ELN services, with expensive contracts. Our solution uses open-source software to develop an ELN that can be shared freely within the UC community. Importantly, it takes advantage of an existing Drupal framework that is central to the UCSF web roadmap.
Our goal. In this project, we propose to take an important step and create the first UCSF electronic lab notebook. The proposed ELN will also offer a fast, user-friendly, and secure ELN web application that facilitates knowledge management and improves collaboration. Off-site backup and versioning is already part of the existing UCSF:Acquia Drupal contract.
IMPACT ON UCSF'S MISSION
- Creates a paperless “green” work environment, although labs can print ELN entries for paper notebooks
- Convenience – easy to use and improves productivity; pull-down SOPs, and relational database structures
- Direct importation of data which have already been captured elsewhere, such as images, tables, and text
- Configurable universal formats allows easy searching and interpretation of records; bar-coding possible
- Space and cost savings – no bulky filing cabinets and no ongoing storage and handling fees
- Ensures business continuity and data protection in the case of natural disasters like earthquake or fire
- Improves accessibility – can be accessed anytime and anywhere with desktop, laptop, and mobile devices
- Facilitate knowledge management and improve collaboration - share information between UCSF labs easily
- Improves data tracking by saving data with all revisions
- Improves intellectual property protection by integrating legally compliant laboratory accreditation criteria
TEAM MEMBERS AND THEIR ROLES
Chair, Micro & Immunology
Assoc Professor, Diabetes Center
Project Coordination/Adviser/Web Admin/Tester
Programmer/Analyst, Micro & Immunology
ESTIMATED TIME DEVOTED BY EACH TEAM MEMBER. Nguyen, 30 hours; Werba, 25 hours; McManus; 20 hours, Lanier, 10 hours.
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