Electronic Lab Notebook – FAQs
Q1: What are the benefits of an electronic lab notebook (eln)?
A1: The electronic lab book facilitates the documentation of experiments, since digitally presented results, can be integrated directly into the records. Projects can be shared with colleagues, or be worked on alone. By means of a full-text search, filter and the possibility of indexing, it is easy to find related entries, even years after the actual experiments. For recurring workflows, templates can be created to save time in documenting the results.
Q2: Who can use the eln?
A2: The offer of the BIH is addressed to all interested groups and single users at the Charité and perspectively the MDC.
Q3: What solution does BIH use?
A3: The QUEST Center for Transforming Biomedical Research at the BIH has opted for labfolder, the browser-based, electronic laborbuch software from Labforward GmbH. For general information about Labfolder, visit https://www.labfolder.com.
Q4: When does the project start and how can I be part of it?
A4: For Charité research groups the eLN is now available. Interested Workgroups can here apply for an electronic lab notebook account.
Recently the registration for interested individual users belonging to the Charité has been opened as well. More information on how to register and the difference between group and single user accounts can be found here.
The MDC decided to make the eLN part of a project regarding the overall data management at the MDC which is projected for 2019. For this reason we expect to be able to offer the eLN to groups at the MDC not before 2019.
Q5: Are there any training and info sessions offered?
A5: Yes, there are on-site training and information events at the Charité Campus Mitte offered on a regular basis. More information can be found at the page Training and Information events.
Q6: Are there any license fees the groups have to pay?
A6: No, using the electronic lab notebook at the BIH is free of charges for Charité / MDC workgroups.
Q7: Is the use of labfolder mandatory?
A7: No, the use of labfolder - including training and support - is only an offer to all groups at the Charité and the perspectively MDC. The use of paper lab books is also possible as well as the use of other electronic lab notebook solutions as long as they meet the requirements of Good Scientific Practice (GCP), the corresponding DIN ISO regulations and the 21CFR11 of the FDA.
Q8: Can results from clinical studies, which may include personal data, e.g. patient data, also be documented in the eln?
A8: No, the electronic lab book can only be used to document the results of laboratory research. Personal data cannot be recorded here. For questions regarding the collection of data from clinical research, please contact the Central Services of the Clinical Research Unit at BIH (only in German).
Q9: Are my research data stored in the electronic laboratory book safe?
A9: labfolder, is run on BIH's own servers. Their availability is well over 99%. Research data will never leave this protected area. The data is kept on redundant storages which are saved daily. Access to the data is only possible for registered users. Within the eln, each workgroup has its own, closed area, in which projects can be shared with individual group members or the whole group. The creator of the respective project decides for which projects this should be the case.
Q10: Who owns the data that is documented in labfolder?
A10: As with the paper lab books, the data belong to the institution (Charite / MDC) at which the researcher is employed.
Q11: Is there a way to retrieve a copy of my data from the electronic laboratory book?
A11: The entries and all files can be exported at any time. The XHTML formats PDF are available for this purpose
Q12: Are there interfaces between labfolder and the laboratory information systems (LIMS) at BIH?
A12: Not so far, however, interfaces are conceivable and planned. For further questions concerning LIMS, please contact the IT department at BIH.