Showing posts from: Electronic Laboratory Notebook – ELN

Mass Innovation Labs Announces Adoption of RSpace ELN as Digital Data Management Service for Member Companies

See original press release here.

Mass Innovation Labs calls RSpace “Easy to use, yet fully featured.”


Mass Innovation Labs, a cutting-edge incubator for scientific start-ups, together with the UK firm ResearchSpace, and its Ohio affiliate, Lab-Ally, have announced that the RSpace ELN (electronic lab notebook) will be made available to member companies to help catalyze their research and protect their intellectual property. Mass Innovation Labs has become the accelerator of choice for Boston’s small startups and rapidly maturing life-science companies like Editas Medicine, Cellaria and C4 Therapeutics.
RSpace ELN logo
The pairing is especially appropriate: Mass Innovation prides itself on being a flexible and scalable space providing expert support for scientific entrepreneurial organizations of all sizes, while RSpace ELN has been deliberately designed around the same concepts of flexibility and scale. The addition of RSpace to Mass Innovation’s suite of infrastructure tools will facilitate accurate lab data collection and help with trouble-free commercialization of members’ discoveries. RSpace will also smooth the process of graduation from incubator to larger facility by ensuring that critical knowledge assets, IP provenance and due diligence procedures are not lost or disrupted by the logistics of growth, or the rigors of relocation. RSpace ELN features an open framework and modern API that allow seamless integration with data sources like Dropbox, Box, Google Docs, MS OneDrive, and Github, as well as connection to verbose data held in file servers, sample management systems and more. RSpace will help Mass Innovation Labs members share and archive files securely, but also allows for easy bundling and export of data in ways that maintain integrity and traceability. Embedded metadata and digital signatures protect members’ data claims even when information is disclosed externally to auditors, investors or other stakeholders.

“RSpace was chosen because it is easy to use yet fully featured”, said Amrit Chaudhuri, CEO and cofounder of Mass Innovation Labs. “This valuable research tool adds to the arsenal of support we provide to companies in areas like setup, workflow, biosafety and other operational programs, ultimately helping companies start work quickly and significantly reduce the typical time it takes to set up lab operations.”

“We’re delighted to partner with Mass Innovation Labs,” said Rory Macneil, CEO and cofounder of ResearchSpace. “The addition of RSpace as a digital environment to complement the world class physical environment Mass Innovation Labs already provides to its member companies is a great example of Mass Innovation Labs’ commitment to continual innovation.”

Rob Day, CEO of Columbus, OH based Lab-Ally added: “RSpace ELN has been specifically designed for modern, dynamic research environments like Mass Innovation Labs. With features like distributed, hierarchic, configurable administration, we believe that RSpace is ideal for any discovery environment where autonomous organizations or semi-autonomous divisions need privacy, but also want the option for secure collaboration or tiered oversight.”

MIL has adopted RSpace ELN

About Mass Innovation Labs:

Mass Innovation Labs was created “to support an expert powered ecosystem that drives brilliant execution”. Its 124,000-square-foot chemistry and biology space is located among the world’s leading life-science companies in Kendall Square, epicenter of the Boston biotech boom. Comprehensive support for growing member companies includes animal facilities, on-site CRO services, and a range of other scientific amenities. For more information visit

About ResearchSpace:

ResearchSpace provides the RSpace electronic lab notebook, which is used by universities, medical schools and life sciences companies around the world. The company mission is to enable researchers to document and protect their work from bench to market or publication, and share it in ways that catalyze discovery. For more information visit

About Lab-Ally:

Lab-Ally operates the US office of ResearchSpace and is involved with the creation of scientific data management tools like RSpace ELN, as well as a variety of other biomedical research ventures. For more information visit

See RSpace ELN for yourself

Contact us for a live demo of RSpace or for instructions to test a free version yourself

Study says research data is lost at alarming rates

Availability of research data fell by 17% per year after initial publication.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia identified a striking decline in the accessibility of original scientific data over time.  The team requested data from authors of more than 500 papers that had been published in the previous 2 to 22 years to determine the percent of data reported as extant at the time of the study.  Their disconcerting results lead the team to the pointed conclusion that “research data cannot be reliably preserved by individual researchers” and prompted them to call for changes in the way such valuable data is archived.

metaphor for lost research data“I don’t think anybody expects to easily obtain data from a 50-year-old paper, but to find that almost all the datasets are gone at 20 years was a bit of a surprise.”      – Lead author, Tim Vines

Read the original article or  the UBC news brief.

Outdated Storage to Blame

Not surprisingly, a primary reason that data was lost is due to outdated storage devices.  As the pace of technological change quickens, it is entirely plausible that data will be lost at even faster rates without a major shift in the ways that data is captured and stored.  The authors of this study are calling for increasing storage of data on publicly accessible archives, but such a suggestion ignores the very real need to protect intellectual property, especially in fields where technology development is a priority.metaphor for secure research data

A well designed ELN, however, solves both problems, especially if integrated into the institution’s long-term archiving infrastructure. A good quality enterprise ELN solution can store data using industry standard formats like .xml and .pdf that will be supported for decades to come. Additionally the data in a properly implemented ELN is far more likely to be professionally backed-up so that data will not be accidentally lost by lax practices of individuals. If stored on scattered drives and file cabinets in the lab, project data can become fragmented as members transfer from one lab to another.

Intellectual property is ironclad where it’s necessary,
yet scientific collaboration is enabled where it’s beneficial.

An ELN will assure that a centralized copy remains accessible to authorized members within your institution.  Controlled access to that data is entirely manageable and can be as public or as private as the authors and project managers want it to be. Moreover, authorship of each item is securely recorded, along with date and time-stamps.  Lab supervisors can easily sign-off on the work of staff members and documents can be digitally locked against any future editing.  Intellectual property is ironclad where it’s necessary, yet scientific collaboration is enabled where it’s beneficial. Some ELNs, can even pass appropriately formatted data bundles off to long-term archiving systems like DSpace, where it can safely reside under the supervision of the institution’s dedicated archivists.

Lab-Ally will be happy to assist you in securing your data for the future with an electronic lab notebook that meets all of your scientific and data management needs. Contact us for details.


The ELN Revolution

The winds of change are blowing in the electronic laboratory notebook world.

The first ELNs were developed in the 1990’s in the private business sector, as a response to the conflicting needs of an increasingly digital, paper-free workplace and the legal necessity to securely document patentable innovations in a tamper-proof way.  The primary adopters of these early ELNs were the “Big Pharma” companies, looking to protect their corporate intellectual property.  Thus, the first wave ELNs were Windows-based software packages that would be installed on an individual PC workstation.  They were very complex tools, highly specific to a particular domain, that required lengthy training on the part of users and system administrators.  Not surprisingly, these systems were extremely expensive, which placed them well outside the reach of any other potential customers. lexington-180975_1920 By the early 2000’s, the ELN landscape shifted; academic researchers recognized the value of a quick, computer-based method to capture the day-to-day data generated in their laboratories that also provide a way to engage in scientific collaboration across the globe. Without the resources to afford the existing ELNs used by the pharmaceutical industry, individual academics began using and modifying widely available generic tools, such as Dropbox and  Evernote.  These were fairly flexible, easy to use, and just about as cheap as can be.  Yet, this cheapness came at the cost of security.  A more secure method was needed to capture the scientific records that could also reliably track the various versions of a document over the course of its history. To fulfill this need, a second wave of ELNs arose, aimed at deployment within a single laboratory under the supervision of a Primary Investigator, who could determine the amount of sharing permissible within and among groups.  Examples of such ELNs include eCat, Lab Archives, and Ruro. They were designed to be more generic and less domain specific, allowing cross-disciplinary collaborations and the potential for completely novel innovations.  Taking a tip from the self-adapted internet tools, the second generation ELNs began to be web-based, freeing academics from being bound to specific computer platform.  These ELNs made improvements in usability as well.  However, they were limited in scale, being suited best to single laboratories.

Enter the 2010’s.  

An ELN revolution appears to be brewing on the horizon. Beginning in 2011 and 2012,  a handful of large universities have begun to seek out affordable data management systems that could be deployed across their entire institution, allowing inter- and intra-group collaboration, version tracking, security, and ease of use.  These newer  solutions must be platform independent, support data publishing, accommodate data in a variety of formats, and must not only allow archiving but must retain sufficient metadata to allow searchable retrieval.  ELNs will most certainly need to be fully mobile to take advantage of tablets and other mobile devices.   Above all, these systems must be scalable to thousands of users. Pilot trials of such enterprise ELN solutions, such as RSpace, have taken place from 2012 to 2013. The ELN revolution is certainly beginning, as more institutions recognize that digital data capture is rendering traditional recording methods more and more inefficient.  At the present, a few major U.S. institutions are poised to enact the largest deployment yet seen in academia, with others sure to follow soon.