Choose ELN or Paper Notebook?
ELN stands for Electronic Laboratory Notebook.
PLN stands for Paper Laboratory Notebook.
Integle has been working on Electronic Laboratory Notebook (InELN) since 2013. We have served more than 20 listed companies in the fields of biopharmaceuticals, chemicals, medical devices, new materials, etc. It often comes out with a question: What is the difference between ELN ( Electronic Laboratory Notebook ) and PLN （Paper Laboratory Notebook）？ How should I choose ?
Which is more convenient to record experiments, using keyboard or handwriting on paper? People have different opinions, and it is difficult to draw conclusions, but it is easier to reach an agreement after the completion of the recording experiment: Which one is easier to read and easier to store? Which one is easier to search and share? Which one is easier to meet compliance requirements? Which one is easier to copy the same experiment?
Let's talk about data storage first
The preservation of paper medium has never been easy and it is difficult to measure the losses thus incurred. It has always been a challenge to properly preserve the literature because paper books are easily bitten by insects and rats, damaged by molds and bacteria.
This feature has also given birth to a literary festival in the history - Book Festival, where scholars can exchange knowledge and meet friends while eliminating insects and bacteria.
Modern technology has greatly reduced this danger through light control, humidity control, temperature control, vacuum isolation and so on, but it is never an easy job. The Beinecke Library of Yale University, which is famous for preserving rare books, had to use cryogenic method to eliminate moths in its books in the 1970s.
A survey conducted by Timothy Vine says that the loss rate of research data annually is 17%  due to improper recording medium and storage methods. In scientific research, if you want to see further, you have to stand on the shoulders of giants. Just as Newton said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. The loss of historical data makes a large amount of R&D investment a huge sunk cost.
Electronic records are easy to share, search and retrieve
The older generation of scientific researchers should still remember the day when they went to the library to find historical information or paper, which may cost several days to find a piece of information.
Now, all these, which used to take half a day, can be obtained from PubMed, SciFinder, Scopus and other platforms in a few seconds. Thanks to the electronic data acquisition technology and powerful search tools.
Electronic lab notebook (ELN) are safer than Paper lab notebook (PLN)
InELN customers may be worried about the security when data can be easily shared and searched. After all, the PLN is believed to have a safer box.
Integle fully considered users’ safety concern. Through private deployment on the user’s own sever and access control, your research and development data can only be read and shared within the scope of authorization you specified. Not only that, InELN has an audit trail for any viewing, sharing, and downloading operation. All operations can be traced back to the person. This is actually more secure than PLN.
ELN meet compliance requirements
Integle InELN is developed according to FDA 21CFR Part11 and ensures the compliance of data records in terms of integrity, traceability and instantaneity.
FDA CFR 21 PART 11: Take home messages
ELN Improve R&D Efficiency
J&J (Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical, USA) has initiated to use ELN instead of PLN since 2005, which help save researchers’ time by 10% .
Furthermore, ELN improve R&D efficiency through information sharing which let successful experiment easily be replicated. ELN helps reduce repetitive research, especially repeating failed experiments.
Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, once said that the amount of data generated by human beings in just two days now exceeds the total amount of data generated by human beings from the history to 2003.
How to store, manage and use information in the era of big data? In addition to completely inheriting the traditional functions of paper records, ELN has greater value in expanding new features of database establishment and the deep mining of information.
Because of the advantages of convenient management, user friendly features and private deployment service, InELN is highly praised by their customers.
It never ends to develop an excellent ELN product. Integle actively pays attention to their users’ opinions and makes continuous improvement in their product.
1. Vines et al. The Availability of Research Data Declines Rapidly with Article Age. Current Biology 24, 94-97. 2014.
2. Michael H. Elliott. What are the Benefits of ELN? 2015
3. Ping Du and Joseph A. Kofman. Electronic Laboratory Notebooks in Pharmaceutical R&D: On the Road to Maturity. JALA, 12:157-165, 2007