Electronic laboratory notebook review

At Splice, we’ve been closely following the changes and improvements in the world of Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) to keep you updated. In this review, we’re focusing on the best electronic lab notebooks that offer the best price-performance ratio.

ELN software from PerkinElmer, Agilent Technologies, BIOVIA (formerly known as Accelrys), and IDBS won’t be on our list as their features lean more toward enterprise-level solutions. This review also doesn’t include Lab Inventory Management Systems (a.k.a. LIMS), which sometimes include bare-bone ELN-like features.

Currently, there are over 100 electronic lab notebooks available for researchers. In this article, we list the top 10 ELN software that fit our criteria and can support industry and academic research labs. The reviews follow below.

Paper Lab Notebooks

Let’s start with the tried-and-true paper lab notebooks. They’ve been around for centuries (even da Vinci had one) and can be found in every scientist’s cabinet. Sure, paper notebooks have their perks—they’re inexpensive and don’t need batteries to operate. But are they the most efficient way to record scientific research data?

Well, not really. Not digitizing experimental records results in a 17% loss of research data, and paper lab notebook can become bottlenecks in data management, especially when it comes to tracking digital data. They limit knowledge sharing, pose data integrity threats, and incur significant costs. Plus, they take up a ton of space.

There are only a few things we have not modernized for over a century, let alone a millennium. Technological advances simply make things better, and you won’t find anyone doing their taxes on an abacus.

A Glimpse of the Future of ELNs

Now, let’s take a glimpse into the future. Thanks to lab automation and digitization, researchers are achieving a level of output like never before imaginable. With emerging knowledge-sharing platforms, data can be distributed globally in a flash. The integration-based approach has allowed science to flourish and interoperability is swiftly becoming the new buzzword in modern research process. Imagine all your instruments sending analytical data directly into a single software platform. No more running around with USB sticks, copy-pasting, printing, cutting and gluing. Exciting, right?

While digital platforms like Google Docs, Share Point, Office Online, and One Drive emerged as alternatives to paper notebooks, they still fall short. Although they offer collaboration features, they can’t record the context of R&D work, metadata, or provide traceability or data security measures for regulated environments. They do not provide any structure to your research data, and are not designed at all for recording lab work or ensuring data integrity.

Enter the Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)

An electronic laboratory notebook isn’t just a replacement for paper. Designed with scientific research labs in mind, it brings forth systematic, secure, and efficient research data storage, along with interoperable data distribution and improved data integrity.

Most ELNs today are cloud-based (some even have apps for mobile devices). This means that researchers can seamlessly collaborate in real-time, eliminate tedious manual data exchange, and overcome hurdles in communication. Electronic laboratory notebooks also incorporate data security measures to ensure research knowledge is well-protected, and prevent accidental loss of research data.

Science student holding tablet pc in lab at the universityDid I mention that electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) are coffee-proof?

Since 2000, when governments worldwide granted electronic records the same validity as paper, the number of available ELN software has skyrocketed. Funding agencies like NIH and the European Commission have implemented research data management policies due to the rise of digital scientific data. Now, 75% of labs show interest in electronic lab notebooks, and those numbers keep climbing each year. Some still claim that paper is easier, but universities even need to run courses on paper lab book documentation—just check out Columbia University’s lab notebook maintenance manual and decide for yourself.

Regardless of your stance, it’s clear that a digital revolution is upon us. With over 100 ELNs out there, it can be overwhelming to choose. That’s why we’ve gathered the 9 absolute best ELN software to make your transition smoother when you decide to take the red pill.

Stay tuned for the reviews coming right up!


Our criteria – ELN Software features under the magnifying glass

Here are the criteria we are using to evaluate the following electronic lab notebooks:


  • Graphical user interface (GUI)
  • Intuitiveness
  • User support (on-line support, available manuals and video tutorials, feature development)
  • Data hierarchy (flat or hierarchical)
  • App for mobile devices
Interoperability and flexibility_ELN_1 INTEROPERABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY

  • Multi-device compatibility
  • Working with different operating systems and browsers
  • Cloud-based
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Instrument integration and open APIs
  • Data protection and security
  • Team administration capabilities
Business model and pricing_ELN_1 BUSINESS MODEL AND PRICING

  • Licensing model, business model and monetization
  • Free version (yes or no)
  • Cost efficiency / fast ROI


9 Best ELN Software Reviewed:

A user-friendly, cloud based ELN software with built-in lab inventory management, compliance, and team collaboration tools. It was started in 2016 by a group of biotech researchers , and it grew into a data management platform with additional laboratory management tools. Because of a focus on user experience, it is designed based on use cases in the lab, and has a modern user interface and structure that differ from many other ELNs.


  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Great customer support and accessible training materials.
  • Visualized workflow and file hierarchy (orginize projects/experiments/tasks)
  • Built-in inventory management and protocol management (protocol templates and protocol library)
  • MS Office integration, API
  • Automatically generates reports
  • Free account and free ELN mobile app


  • No integration with CRISPR/CAS9 genome editing software
  • Free account is for individuals not groups
  • ELN software cost to access premium features

sciNote score

RSpace was first envisioned in 2012 at the University of Wisconsin, designed to support multiple groups in comparison to its predecessor eCAT. Later, through the collaboration
between several academic institutions, the software grew to become a feature-rich electronic laboratory notebook software well-known for its large number of integrations. It also introduced inventory management feature in 2020. Now based in Edinburgh, it is used by a large number of academic institutions.


  • Possible archive management, built-in metrics and analytics
  • Can connect to the eCAT sample tracking system
  • Supports chemical structures
  • Free to use with unlimited storage
  • Many integration


  • GUI could use improvements
  • Lack customization and flexibility

4-4-5 score

Probably one of the most known electronic lab notebooks due to its pre-IPO status in biotech, rapid expansion, and an incredibly high valuation, Benchling actually started out in an academic lab at MIT. It’s now a cloud-based platform for biotechnology R&D, with a large number of applications including an electronic laboratory notebook and molecular biology design functionalities. While it offers a free ELN option for academia, the applications seem to be designed more for enterprise-level use in biotech and pharmaceutical companies.


  • Useful DNA tools (CRISPR guide and primer design)
  • Templates for sequence mapping and sharing
  • Free account with 10 GB of storage space


  • Long onboarding time; deep learning curve to achieve simple tasks
  • Limited (support) video content
  • Expensive, extra ELN software costs for support or various applications (e.g. Workflow)

4-4-4 score

SAPIO Science provides lab informatics platform with electronic lab notebook, LIMS, and data integration solution. It emphasizes its informatics and workflow, and includes a specific feature call Jarvis that is meant to pull in instrument and application data directly from the source into its ELN and LIMS. It also has data analysis tools to provide data visualization and interactive rendering.


  • Modern user interface
  • Useful DNA tools (e.g., plasmid editor, CRISPER design)
  • Built-in statistic feature


  • No free option
  • Report generation and structure data capture only available in higher level paid options

4-4-3 score

ELABJOURNAL (part of eLabNext products)

Docollab score

While other ELN companies usually build out functionalities based on an ELN foundation, eLabJournal is actually eLabNext’s 3rd product, following its protocol management (eLabProtocols) and inventory management (eLabInventory) software that eLabJournal integrates with.


  • Useful add-ons and software integrations
  • Flexible structure for protocol generation
  • Collaboration option


  • GUI not very intuitive or structured
  • Lack video tutorials; unclear access to support page
  • No free option except for protocol management.

4-4-3 score

LabGuru’s system is an all-in-one platform integrating an electronic lab notebook, LIMS, inventory management, automation, and informatics from different sources. It includes a set of pre-defined automation tools that simplifies automation.


  • Advanced tagging system for easy search
  • Track recording from batch number to concentration
  • Modern interface


  • Not very intuitive
  • Project view too complex
  • No free plan available
  • Expensive subscription
  • Lack video tutorials

4-4-3 score

Labfolder is an electronic lab notebook developed by Germany-based company Labforward, founded in 2012. Labfolder integrates with two other products from Labforward: the Labregister (for lab inventory management) and the Laboperate (for lab automation).


  • Sketching
  • Free account for smaller teams and free mobile device app
  • Integration with Mendeley


  • Not very intuitive
  • Unflattering structured design
  • The free option is limited to 3 team members, total 3GB of storage

Labfolder score

eELabFTW is a free an open-source electronic lab notebook, typically run locally. The company behind eLabFTW (Deltablot) does offer a hosted option and paid user support.


  • Focus on open-source option
  • Translation available in different languages


  • GUI could use an update
  • No free option
  • Lack video tutorials; unclear what other resources are available for hosted option
  • Open-source option requires technical background to set up

2-3-4 score

LabArchives is an ELN that comes with good note sharing features tailored for academic users. Feature-wise, it ticks all the boxes you will look for in an academic electronic lab notebook, as its focus is on institution-wide implementation at universities or research institutes.


  • Pubmed references entry editor
  • Integration with GraphPad Prism
  • Good file sharing features


  • The graphical user interface needs a lot of improvements, not intuitive
  • Quite complicated, additional training necessary
  • Not a lot of storage space in the free version (total 1GB, max 25 MB/file)
  • Limited support, direct contact

2-3-4 score

Every laboratory has its unique expectations, objectives, and capabilities, making it highly unlikely for a single, universal electronic lab notebook software to fully meet their diverse needs.

The laboratories of the future will undoubtedly depend on the seamless interoperability of instruments and devices. Fortunately, the best ELN software we have listed here are already ahead of the game, some demonstrating compatibility with mobile devices and various digital platforms. As technology advances, instrument compatibility will follow suit. This is something that can’t be achieved through analog systems such as paper notebooks.

If you are considering implementing an electronic lab notebook software in your lab, we are here to assist you. Take advantage of our free ELN Vendors Validation Template, a valuable resource to navigate the plethora of options and make an informed decision.


In conclusion, being a researcher in this era is pretty exciting. We’re witnessing a remarkable digital revolution in the realm of science, and it’s bringing endless possibilities for exploration and discovery. COVID-19 has certainly acted as a catalyst to accelerate this transition. Electronic laboratory notebooks are leading the charge when it comes to research data management, and it’s like a breath of fresh air for labs everywhere.

With so many fantastic electronic lab notebooks to choose from, each offering its own unique set of tools to make your work easier and more effective, I hope this review has helped you find the best electronic lab notebook that fits for your needs, so that you can move away from paper notebook and take a step into the future.

Ready to dive in? Here’s a step-by-step guide on selecting the best electronic lab notebook for your lab. Check out “A Complete Guide to Selecting an Electronic Lab Notebook for Your Lab” and get ready to embrace a digital tomorrow.


Users typically indicate user experience (UX), interoperability, flexibility, and pricing as the most important considerations when it comes to picking an Electronic Lab Notebook.

An ideal ELN should be intuitive to use, have an attractive, easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI), and a dedicated support system (online support agents, manuals and video tutorials).

Interoperable ELN’s typically enable multi-device compatibility (desktop, tablet, mobile), cloud access, collaboration in real-time and integrations with lab instruments via open APIs. An ELN software should ideally work on all major operating systems and browsers. This is an important factor especially if you are consideration lab automation.

ELN’s come with various pricing models, it is important to find the one that best fits your needs and capabilities. Look out for vendors offering free versions, they can be a great option for labs on a budget or to simply try the product out before committing to a purchase.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution with electronic lab notebooks, it comes down to the specific needs of your lab. Based on the criteria described in this review SciNote electronic lab notebook scored the highest overall, however, we encourage you to review all contenders and find the best electronic lab notebook for you!

41 replies
  1. Wouter de Jong
    Wouter de Jong says:

    So true! Although the criteria used in this review to score the ELN’s are important, we (as provider of the Electronic Lab Notebook eLABJournal), are challenged by our customers every day to show that we provide a secure ELN solution. Besides supporting essential security features, such as enforcing password policies and two-step verification, ISO27001 certification of the vendor is essential to show that security is priority and that measures to safeguard the data of customers are in place. Also, offering the flexibility to choose between hosting of the software in the cloud or on own servers (yet the option to switch at any time), is important to comply with strict security policies of organizations which do not permit the use of cloud hosted solutions.

  2. JustMy5c
    JustMy5c says:

    Security aspect should be a key factor when making decision concerning this kind of products, especially if you’re either doing research that has potentially commercially valuable results (your research contract may actually require you to take specific precautions) and/or your data is sensitive as defined in the legislation (think EU GDPR, that covers humane genetic data, for instance).

  3. Shelby
    Shelby says:

    Another good one that is not as well-known yet but has many of these desired features is CERF. It comes from the same company as RSpace, is desktop-based (meaning it can be used offline), and has one of the better search engines anywhere to find information you put in years ago. If you need to be 21CRF11 compliant as well, it has got that covered. The only real disadvantage is that the GUI looks like it’s from the early 2000’s, but it is still something I wish I had in college back in 2014, espcially in chemistry class. The 3-D models of molecules are cool!

  4. Eileen SullivanScully
    Eileen SullivanScully says:

    A GMP Life Science Manufacturing environment needs a 21 CFR 11 Compliant solution. FDA Regulatory GMP Pharma, BioTech & Medical Device manufacturing plants use OpsTrakker E-Logbook Solution by Enhanced Information Solutions out of Stillwater MN.

  5. Jonathan Green
    Jonathan Green says:

    Hi Luka, Do you have a chance to review it? Our company is using Labii. It is just released a new version. I like it for the freedom to customize what data to store, what column to have and what details to insert. It also introduces the concept of widgets, which enables adding the functions to meet each lab’s requirement. My favorite part is pay-per-use. I only pay for the records I created.

    It has 5th biggest ELN and LIMS market/visibility based on SEMrush, which are much higher than Benchling and Scinote.

  6. Georg
    Georg says:

    We used LabGuru, but recently moved to LabSpace.io.
    I don’t know how much labs could pay for such things… So only free one :)

  7. Costas Bouyioukos
    Costas Bouyioukos says:

    Good point James!

    Instead of writing two paragraphs of “needless to say” things, a simple answer “yes” or “no” would have sufficed and definitely improve the credibility of the post.
    However, the signature clearly states that the blog is sponsored by biosistemika, which is a quite fair statement too.

  8. James Holt
    James Holt says:

    I think it’s a bit surprising that the author didn’t just say “Yes he’s my brother” or “No he’s not”.

    Declaring the conflict of interest doesn’t mean your opinion is invalid. A conflict of interest may be more perceived than real or may have effects on you that are not conscious. Sometimes declaring a perceived or possible conflict of interest will actually increase your credibility because readers can respect the fact that you have considered and disclosed possible sources of bias.

    As scientists it is important to disclose conflicts of interest even if we genuinely believe that we are not affected by them.

  9. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Hi Gabi,

    thank you for your comment. It´s possible that some functionalities have been updated since I last tried out Docollab. I will definitely consider the features you mentioned for my next update of the article. Appreciate your help, will reach out if I encounter any questions in the process.

  10. Gabriel Axel
    Gabriel Axel says:


    I am a co-founder of Docollab.

    I would like to point out that Docollab is compatible with mobile devices. It has been tested with Chrome, Firefox and Opera on Android, and Safari on iOS.

    I’m not sure what “Not possible to write comments” mean, but Docollab does provide a rich document editor in which you can write pretty much anything, including comments, and review past revisions of the document. Furthermore, it provides a task management feature in which you can add comments to tasks.

    We would appreciate if these details could be updated. If you have any more questions, you are welcome to contact us at



  11. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Dear Florian,

    thank you for your comment and for bringing up the question. As I pointed out several times below, the article reflects my professional opinion as a scientific researcher and is by no means a representation of a larger cohort of people or an organization for that matter. It´s an inherently personal view I firmly stand by, shaped by a great deal of effort invested in trying out numerous ELNs including your company´s ELN labfolder. If nothing else, my signature under this review should be a clear testament of my intent and good faith.

    I feel it´s needles to say that different people would have scored it differently, I absolutely agree with you on that notion. I openly welcome all comments, experiences, and opinions surrounding the ELNs in question and had previously updated the scores based on constructive feedback from the comments.

  12. Florian Hauer
    Florian Hauer says:

    Hi Luka,
    do you care to point out that you are the brother of Klemen Zupančič who is a Business Development Executive with biosistemika (https://biosistemika.com/team/), the company that offers SciNote and is magically rated first place here?
    I think the conflict of interest is quite obvious here – and luckily, most researchers try out different softwares and are able to draw their own conclusions – which in many cases, result in a quite different ranking than the one postulated here.

  13. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Hi Young Wu, appreciate your feedback! Labii does seem like an interesting option after a quick inspection, however I would need to examine it first-hand before commenting on its functionality and usability further. For now, the information provided on the product website seems rather scarce. Nevertheless, I would happily consider reviewing Labii in a possible update to this review.

  14. Young Wu
    Young Wu says:

    HI Luka,

    I personally have contacted each ELN venders and have them demoed to me, it took me more than two months. One of the outstanding ELN that not seeing here is the Labii ELN. You will be amazed how it different to all other existing ELNs in both design and functions and how it can link the experiments, protocols, samples, reagents, et.al all together. I specifically like it to be able to extract the metadata from lab note for statistic data analysis. You can find it at this link: https://www.labsexplorer.com/c/2017-review-of-best-electronic-laboratory-notebooks_6

  15. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Hi Santi,

    thank you for your feedback, I appreciate you taking the time. Allow me to comment on the points you highlighted.

    1) The »Free version« score refers to weather a free version of the software exists, which can be used continuously and not merely tried out. I do not see a 45-day account option as a free version but rather as a trial, which is also how it is advertised on your web page. However, I did appreciate the trial version and did award Mbook a respectable 4/5 points in the »Business model and Pricing« category.

    2) I now understand you offer an in-house installation and I appreciate you bringing that up for the readers. This seems to be an honest mistake on my part, however I do recall that feature was not communicated very clearly at the time of my testing. I would be happy to take it into account in the upcoming update of this review.

    3) You put it well and there is not much left to be said. The UX is in its nature a subjective matter and I´m positive people with different backgrounds would score differently. However, I did focus on aspects that make an ELN user friendly to a broader range of users (i.e. researchers), and not a very specific segment. I am not a synthetic chemist and did find myself frequently stumbling over hurdles in design that unfortunately diminished my experience with Mbook.

    I would like to state that Mbook did prove as a valid candidate and I definitely see it as a solid ELN. That´s why I included it on the »Top 9« list, among many others that did not do the job as good.

  16. Santi Dominguez
    Santi Dominguez says:

    Hi, Luka,

    Thank you for the article and for reviewing Mbook (I am the CEO of Mestrelab, anyone reading my comment should be aware of that).

    I wanted to comment to point out a couple of inaccuracies.

    Firstly, Mbook does have a free 45 day account, for those that want to try it out. Your reason to give a significant amount of weight to price is the fact that researchers like to try before they buy. This is certainly possible with Mbook. Of course, whether a 45 day or a 10 GB trial are more extensive, depends on the number of users and on the amount of data that is stored in the ELN.

    Secondly, Mbook has indeed an in-house installation, as highlighted on our website. It is designed as a Cloud Solution, but we make available an installer for in-house installation to any institutions not happy putting their data on the cloud.

    Finally, intuitiveness of interface is a subjective matter, and therefore I cannot really comment on your evaluation there. Mbook is designed for synthetic chemistry, and it makes sense to evaluate it from that viewpoint. It is aiming at making the creation of reactions, stoichiometry tables, experimental protocols and the attachment of analytical and other data to experiments as simple as possible. Of course, that may not work so well for other workflows or use cases, which it is not targeted to doing. From a synthetic chemist perspective, I would expect that structure editor, structure search, integrated inventory, self populating stoichiometry tables and immediate access to all analytical data are all points to value, which do not seem to be considered on your review, so this might be a point worth making.

    Best Regards


  17. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Hi Mark, thanks for your input!

    You bring up a valid point there and I do agree with you, everybody is entitled to their own opinion and many people would have surely scored the ELNs differently, based on their own needs and experiences.

    In terms of interoperability, mine were not the best with LabArchives and Labfolder at the time of testing. Please note that this article is a second revision of the original one, and it could very well be that both products experienced updates in that area since then. However, if you scroll down you will find other people reported interoperability issues with the ELNs in question as well.

    You are spot on regarding sciNote, those limitations are on point and did land them a lower score. Since their mobile version actually worked great for me and still does, I only deducted one point for the lack of an API.

  18. Mark Watson
    Mark Watson says:


    Although your justification is reasonable, there is a lack of unbias analysis. For example:

    In INTEROPERABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY section you mentioned 5 bullet points:

    Multi device compatibility
    Working with different operating systems and browsers
    Real-time collaboration
    Instrument integration and open APIs

    I personally tested LabArchives and Labfolder and both meet all the requirements, but end just with 3 out of 5.

    Curiously, scinote does not offer an API (according to their own FAQ) and lacks dedicated mobile apps (there is just a shortcut option as they mention here https://scinote.net/product/mobile/) but they still had a better evaluation in that category :)

  19. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Hi Paul, thank you for your comment, this has already been discussed bellow. Posting my reply again for your convenience:

    “As a researcher frustrated with the limitations of paper lab books, I´ve been looking for an ELN for quite some time. In the process I also tried out sciNote and even participated in it´s beta testing phase. It was the last ELN I tested and it proved to best fit my needs.

    Having finally found my ideal solution, I volunteered to write a piece about my journey of finding an ELN for Splice, to show my support and to help others in the same frustrating situation I was in for so long. The article offers an overview of the ELNs I’ve tried, as well as my personal evaluation of them.

    Splice is an independent blog with contributions coming mainly from independent researchers from various institutions, such as myself. I still use sciNote every day and I firmly stand by my opinion, expressed in this article.”

  20. Paul Freedom
    Paul Freedom says:

    Just a small remark: Is a bit strange that the first place goes to the company that powered this list: Biosistemika LLC

  21. Luka Zupančič
    Luka Zupančič says:

    Hi Christoph, thank you for your input! You bring up a good point, not all of the ELNs and their features in this review are equally important for everyone. Obviously expectations from lab to lab and researcher to researcher will differ and you highlighted some very good examples of that.

    I tested the ELNs based on personal requirements, which I believe resemble those of a “typical researcher”. I needed a solid and reliable ELN solution to solve my everyday issues with experimental design and laboratory data management for a reasonable budget. I defined the scoring criteria to best represent those needs, which I believe correlate to a much larger portion of researchers out there. However, I absolutely agree with you, if the criteria were set in a different manner, the outcome would undoubtedly differ accordingly.

  22. Luka Zupančič
    Luka Zupančič says:

    Hi Stelios, appreciate your feedback! Findings ELN does seem like an interesting pick after a quick inspection, however I do realize it is only available for iOS systems. I run all experiments in a PC setting and generally find solutions that are limited to a single platform disadvantaged. If a PC version comes out any time soon and an update to this review ever occurs, I would be happy to give Findings a try.

  23. Stelios
    Stelios says:

    I am surprised to not see the Findings app amongst these! I have just tried sciNote and I would say that the user experience of Findings the the functionality it offers are far superior. You would need to pay for a license, but I definitely think it’s more than worth it!

  24. Christoph Seiler
    Christoph Seiler says:

    Thanks for putting a list of these together, this seems to be the only place on the www that has some comprehensive review of ELNs. I run a research core and we do several projects for multiple labs and we really need an ELN. I am just testing a few, and hopefully will find time to write more about my impressions and final choice.

    I wanted to comment about the ratings in this review: I believe that pricing is largely over-emphasized here, a product that takes more work to create will obviously create more costs and be more expensive. User experience also seems to lean towards simple programs, it seems that more complex ELNs with more modules are rated poorly just because it took the reviewers more time to understand the different parts. If an ELN will be used for standard operations am am willing to pay for it and spend some time to learn how to use it.

    I believe that is what put the rather bare-bones ELN “SCINOTE” on top of the list. SCINOTE is the first one I dis-regarded, yes their licensing is free for most and sharing is somewhat easy, but recording procedures is frankly a pain. There is no way to add tables and calculation formulas, no annotation of result files, no sketching and no repository to organize reagents that are created.

  25. Luka Zupancic
    Luka Zupancic says:

    Hi Allen, thank you for your feedback!

    I have to agree with you there, this was a problem I faced in all the labs I have worked at so far. Many of the above included ELNs contain some form of sample inventory (eg. Labguru, Benchling, sciNote, etc.), which can be used to monitor samples about to expire as well. For example, I currently use sciNote, which allows me to assign my samples to sample groups (eg “soon to expire”) as well as to individual projects and trace them in that way. Hope this helps!

  26. Allen Doyle
    Allen Doyle says:

    Great review. Rspace looks well adapted to academic labs from my cursory review. Glad to hear others work as well.
    As someone who works across campus, and bridging researchers and facility managers I see the frustration of overfilled freezers and abandoned freezer contents when scientists retire. Facilities and office of research might support the costs of enterprise installations if ELN and sample management databases include expiration date defaults (that may be updated). This would enhance discarding of expired, forgotten or spoiled samples, which may comprise 30% or more of a freezer contents.
    Does any university or department have enterprise installations? Which platform?

  27. James Burchfield
    James Burchfield says:

    I have used LabArchives for ~2 years now. It works, has good levels of control and oversight. To me what it lacks is project and data management integration. In the digital age the ideal would be a system that integrates all these things. It should simplify everyday life and improve workflow and data retention and transparency between lab members. IT should contain a protocol repository, the key steps of which are automatically imported into any given experiment. It should have the facillity for integrating and manging repositories/registries or reagant lists.
    LabArchives is very much a blank canvas that requires the user to impose structure and order it. I would rate it 3 /5. This is with referentce to the ideal which to my knowledge does not exist. I cannot comment on any of the others as I have not used them.

  28. Luka Zupančič
    Luka Zupančič says:

    Dear Roger,

    thank you for your feedback and for your suggestion. However I never came across Archware and after inspecting their web page, I noticed that they refer to the product as a quality management system and not an actual ELN. As such, I do not consider it a top contender on the list of ELNs.

  29. Roger Summers
    Roger Summers says:

    All of these products still require a post process review, are clunky and cause more problem than they intend to solve. Check out Archware. This ELN comes with lanyard worn scanners to be used with a tablet device that allows you to simply scan components and instruments to auto-populate information. Plus the informationis reviewed immediately at the time of entry, avoiding errors before they can happen.

  30. Luka Zupančič
    Luka Zupančič says:

    Dear Arturo,

    Thank you for your question. As a researcher frustrated with the limitations of paper lab books, I´ve been looking for an ELN for quite some time. In the process I also tried out sciNote and even participated in it´s beta testing phase. It was the last ELN I tested and it proved to best fit my needs.

    Having finally found my ideal solution, I volunteered to write a piece about my journey of finding an ELN for Splice, to show my support and to help others in the same frustrating situation I was in for so long. The article offers an overview of the ELNs I’ve tried, as well as my personal evaluation of them.

    Splice is an independent blog with contributions coming mainly from independent researchers from various institutions, such as myself. I still use sciNote every day and I firmly stand by my opinion, expressed in this article.

  31. Arturo Casini
    Arturo Casini says:

    The post does not disclose that this blog is actually operated by the developers of SciNote, which coincidentally ranks #1 in this list. I like SciNote but I find this a bit offputting. Can you comment on this?

  32. Erica
    Erica says:

    Another great ELN solution to consider – BookitLab ELN
    Simple and intuitive, perfect for start ups and bio incubators.

  33. admin
    admin says:

    Hello Earl, thank you for the insight and your comment. It came just at the right moment, we are planning to post the updated version of the article, with more in depth information. We value your opinion and will be glad to update the information on your product. The number of ELNs available today is growing and good information is crucial. The authors of articles on Splice provide opinion from their point of view as experienced scientists and IT enthusiasts. We believe LabArchives is one of the Top ELNs available today, depending on the preferences and needs of specific labs. We are glad you reached out and provided more information and good critique. It is greatly appreciated.

  34. Earl Beutler
    Earl Beutler says:

    Thanks for your review. As full disclosure, I am the co-founder and CEO of LabArchives.. While I can’t argue with your subjective criteria, there are definite factual inaccuracies in your article as it relates to our product. For example, one of the “cons” for LabArchives is that “Local installation not possible”. This is untrue: We have offered a locally installed version since 2010 and have many users of this product, including the NIH. You also suggest that “Attached PDF files lose their format” which is also untrue. All files keep their original format.

    I would also question some of your grading criteria. For example, under the category of “INTEROPERABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY”, LabArchives meets all of these (we have iOS and Android Apps, are Cloud based, work on all leading OS and browsers, include real-time collaborative tools, have an extensive and robust API, and include a free tool, FolderMonitor, that allows importing of data from scientific instruments. And yet you score LabArchives just 3/5 stars.

    I hope that you will take a more careful look at our product. We would be glad to arrange a demonstration so that you can better understand the functionality that you are reviewing as well many other powerful tools that it includes.

  35. Luka Zupančič
    Luka Zupančič says:

    Hi Robert, thank you for your comment. I did come across RSpace and CERF, they both indeed seem like solid ELN platforms with several useful and unique features. However Rspace just barely fell short of reaching the top 7 list due to its somewhat dull and non-intuitive GUI, while CERF was not accessible online without having to write a personal email to the developers – which I find is a major disadvantage.

  36. Robert Day
    Robert Day says:

    Two other obvious choices you left out: RSpace ELN, which is specifically designed for integrated academic Research Data Management (RDM) workflows (try the free version at community.researchspace.com) and for high compliance labs, CERF (cerf-notebook.com) which has been in continuous use by research labs worldwide for more than a decade.

  37. Wouter de Jong
    Wouter de Jong says:

    The system is open for anyone to trial the system, so I would be happy to offer you a free eLabJournal trial. Part of the system functionality is also to offer sharing options across labs within the institute. For the best user experience, intitute recognition is automatic based on email domain of the institute.

  38. Luka Zupančič
    Luka Zupančič says:

    Hi Wouter, thank you for reaching out and for your comment. I did come across eLabjournal but was unfortunately unable to register an account with a private email address. I saw/see this as a major drawback for many researchers, who do not have an organization domain (eg. students, contractors,…) but would nevertheless like to transition to an ELN.

  39. Wouter de Jong
    Wouter de Jong says:

    Good review! Seems that you missed out reviewing some other great solutions however, such as the Electronic Lab Notebook eLabJournal.

  40. Helen Kasimiotis
    Helen Kasimiotis says:

    This is very interesting, Would I be able to speak to get in touch with a consultant in Melbourne, Australia?

    Regards, Helen

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