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Electronic Lab Notebook: More Focus on Science

August 02, 2018

For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. —Benjamin Franklin


The pressure to increase pharmaceutical R&D productivity is widely felt in the industry. Market forces, government regulations and targeted therapies for smaller patient populations are dictating that more high-quality therapeutic candidates are promoted to the clinic cheaply and quickly. This combination of “more/better/faster/cheaper” is predictably challenging. Innovative companies are deploying processes and tools in drug discovery and early development that are designed to increase the rate of their scientific progress.

It is often easier to find information that was generated outside of one’s organization than it is to find information from inside one’s organization. For instance, searching PubMed is a fast and simple way to access a vast amount of scientific information outside of an organization. Trying to find internal information can lead to frustrating dead ends. Breaking down “silos” within an organization is a key driver to increasing the scientific productivity. A silo is any kind of group that is unable to share their knowledge and data throughout an organization. The negative results of silos range from inefficiencies – such as individuals taking an unnecessarily long time to find information that exists in a silo – to counter-productivity – experiments being duplicated, or the same mistakes being made multiple times. The problem is exacerbated by the now popular use of CROs, as these silos can span organizations. Silos have several causes, including IP and data governance concerns, IT barriers between groups and locations within a company, inability to share knowledge and data with external collaborators, and company culture.

Much of the valuable information needed to drive R&D productivity exists in lab notebooks – paper notebooks or Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN). Information in paper notebooks is difficult to access by its very nature. Previous generations of ELNs suffer from a tendency to be placed inside existing siloes. Different teams use different ELN systems, have technical barriers between geographies, or ELNs are unable to be shared between external partners due to IP concerns. PerkinElmer’s Signals Notebook takes a modern approach to storing, sharing and reporting experimental information which removes the barriers that cause silos while still maintaining strict data security.

Signals Notebook looks and feels like modern consumer apps. It is a flexible and intuitive platform for documenting information and for efficient collaboration. Users can designate colleagues’ and collaborators’ experiments as “favorites” to easily track and reference them. Peers may add comments, tag colleagues, and use hashtags to link to relevant experiments in the system. Alerts to new information are front and center in the interface and users can opt in to email notifications. Text, field and structure searches are lightning-fast, and it is straightforward to filter to relevant results. These aspects of Signals Notebook are very much like capabilities of Social Media apps that scientists use in their personal lives (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and their professional lives (LinkedIn). Moreover, it is a cloud-native application, which enables seamless sharing and feedback across project teams and external collaborators worldwide.

The collaboration capabilities work in context of Signals Notebook’s Dynamic Access Control (watch this webinar for more information). Access to experiments is granted only to the specific collaborators that meet rules based on a combination of experiment attributes and user roles.

Signals Notebook offers modern collaboration capabilities along with an innovative security model which work together to break down information siloes. Researchers, project teams, external collaborators, and IP teams have real-time access to information, can collaborate around this information, and be assured that this extraordinarily valuable IP is protected. Immersed in the scientific information of Signals Notebook, and collaborating effortlessly with their colleagues, researchers are key contributors to an organization’s efforts to meet the growing demands on R&D productivity. Visit the Signals Notebook product page for more information and to request a free trial.


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