Labii electronic lab notebook (ELN) and laboratory information management system (LIMS)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Formula Support Added In Labii ELN & LIMS

Formula Support in Labii ELN & LIMS
Formula Support

Labii continues to break new ground with developments to the Labii ELN & LIMS software all aimed at further facilitating data management, analysis, accountability, and transparency for scientists.

The modern, high-utility ELN has been updated with a feature that supports formulas. This formula feature is one of the most requested by scientists across the globe using ELNs who can use it to document quick calculations much easier. An example is with documenting PCR reaction calculations, as well as other basic and complex operations as permitted by the added features for this formula function.

What are the Features of Labii’s Formula Function?

  1. Supports the entry of all numbers, negative and positive as float or integers. 
  2. Arithmetic operations such as; +, -, /, *, %, ^
  3. Logical operations such as; AND(), OR(), NOT(), XOR()
  4. Comparison operations such as; =, >, >=, <>
  5. String operations such as; & (concatenation eq. =-(2&5) will return -25)
  6. All JavaScript Math constants such as; PI(), E(), LN10(), LN2(), LOG10E(), LOG2E(), SQRT1_2(), SQRT2()
  7. Error handling; #DIV/0!, #ERROR!, #VALUE!, #REF!, #NAME?, #N/A, #NUM!
  8. Relative and absolute cell references such as A1, $A1, A$1, $A$1;
  9. Build-in variables such as TRUE, FALSE, NULL;
  10. Custom variables;
  11. Nested functions;
  12. Dynamic updates

How to Use Labii’s Formula Feature?

Using the new formula feature of Labii is easy to comprehend, especially as it is very similar to using formulas in Excel. With the table widget, the Electronic Lab Notebook provides excel like functions which now include the use of Formulas to process formula expressions defined in available data or data areas. However, it is important to note that manipulations can only be done in the Edit Mode.

The only notable limitations of labii’s formula function are: it doesn’t support filtering and column sorting and doesn’t allow the trimming of rows.

Before this update, scientists using this unique data management software needed to create a separate excel file to make use of the formulas to perform calculations. Until after carrying out their calculations, only then could they upload the Excel to Labii.

Now, users don’t need to go through all that. Everything has been set up to simply require a table widget and all your data calculations can be done directly.

This goes a long way to save time, eliminate any possible upload complications, and achieve so much efficiency as far as calculations are concerned in ELN for scientists.

Almost every researcher of this era is familiar with Excel’s formula feature and would find it very easy to pick up this great update and enjoy all the other benefits of Labii ELN and LIMS.

Yonggan Wu
Shirley Scott

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Recent Scientific Fraud in Cardiac Stem Cell Research, How Labii ELN & LIMS can Help Avoid Similar Problems in the Future?

What Happened?

The world of pharmaceutical research has been rocked by the mid-November news that Harvard and Brigham have requested for the retraction of 31 cardiac stem cell research papers by the famous Dr. Piero Anversa. 

He was one-time laboratory director at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Officials from the two institutions confirmed his studies based on the idea of treating damaged hearts with stem cells included fabricated and/or falsified data. This was in a statement to Retraction Watch and STAT earlier this October.  

Dr. Piero Anversa and his team virtually started cardiac stem cell research in 2001 after claiming they had identified stem cells (c-kit cells) which supposedly had the ability to regenerate cardiac muscle. Their claim excited scientists across the globe although numerous research teams attempted and failed to reproduce their results. However, their work inspired the creation of many start-up companies targeting the development of new treatments for stroke and heart attacks. The National Institutes of Health notably funded a clinical trial in the regard. 

Anversa’s work had earlier faced some antagonism from certain pros in the field like Jeffery Molkentin, of the lab at Cincinnati Children’s back in 2014. Also, a study by the co-director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Irving Weissman, among others concluded that bone marrow cells injected into cardiac muscles remain bone marrow cells

Nevertheless, the first major scenario that rang loud alarm bells about the research was a $10 million settlement in April 2017. The scientist was accused of submitting fraudulent data in order to secure federal research funding and Brigham and Women’s Hospital accepted to pay the settlement to the federal government. 

Brigham made the settlement with the U.S Department of Justice, even though the U.S Office of Research Integrity which is in charge of investigations on research misconduct when it involves National Institutes of Health Funding, didn’t make a finding in the case. The relation between the settlement and this recent call for over 30 of Anversa’s papers to be retracted isn’t clear. 

The Journals in which the 31 papers appeared have not been highlighted by Harvard and Brigham, but about 8 of his papers had previously been retracted and corrected. Many for failing to disclose conflicts of interest. The Circulation journal notably retracted on of Anversa’s papers in 2014.

The school and hospital started reviewing the popular doctor’s publications in January 2013 and his lab at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital was closed as he departed later in 2015 with increasing questions popping up about his research. At one point, Dr. Piero Anversa and his colleague Dr. Annarosa Leri even unsuccessfully sued Harvard and Brigham for alerting journals to issues in the work in 2014. 

As the events keep developing, spokeswoman for the AHA (American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association), Suzanne Grant, highlighted the organization’s role in the retraction and correction of a 2012 paper co-authored by Dr. Anversa in 2014. She added that the AHA was evaluating the findings of Harvard and would once again take all necessary action. 

One thing everyone in and out of the industry agrees upon is the need for transparency. Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale even told STAT and Retraction Watch that, “the scientific community deserves to know what the findings were, the reasons why the papers were retracted, and the recommended way forward”. Furthermore, the million-dollar question is, ‘What happens to work based on Dr. Anversa’s work?’.

How Labii ELN & LIMS Can Help Avoid Similar Problems in The Future?

To avoid the fraud and the wasting of tax payer’s money, the NIH and other grant organizations should check the applicant’s raw research notes on their grant applications. I also urge the publishers to make it a requirement for scientists to provide the raw experiment notes as a compulsory attachment for every publication.

With technology presenting new solutions to many global problems, Labii’s ELN & LIMS is perfectly equipped to make the above suggestion possible and to help scientists prevent scandals like this shocking call for more than 30 research papers to be retracted. The Electronic Laboratory Notebook software simplifies data management and guarantees security, as well as transparency, in so many ways. 

1) Labii ELN & LIMS takes away the control of data from individuals as the software provides a Unique ID to all records. The ID will incremental by itself as the research progresses and each experimental note created is given its unique ID to avoid any fraud from manually faking the notes.
2) With Labii, no data can be deleted. Labii keeps all results of scientific research, whether wrong or right. This allows for pinpoint accuracy and transparent tracking.
3) Labii keeps track of all user activities. The software records every single change, making data falsification practically impossible.
4) Labii creates a new version for every change which is stored, facilitating the tracking process of research.
5) Every tech enthusiast must be aware of the amazing security of blockchain technology which is making waves in cryptocurrency over the last decade. Labii ELN & LIMS makes use of blockchain technology security to make hacking impossible. This feature also makes the manipulation of historical data impossible. 

The world of research would do well with some transparency and Labii ELN & LIMS brings a fantastic way out. 

Shirley Scott

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

4 Steps to Pick an Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN) That’s Perfect for You

If you are reading this, then you must have an idea about the important role Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs) and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) have to play in the global quest for safer, quicker, and much more effective data management tools in our modern laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry in general.

Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELN) has long been predicted by articles and technology as far back as the 1990’s as having the futuristic potential to solve data management problems for researchers. This dream is slowly becoming a reality with more and more scientists and organizations welcoming the switch from traditional methods.

However, the wide variety of available options today is making the task of choosing the perfect one even more daunting. In fact, a 2016 research study conducted by the University of Southampton, found 72 active products. And a Delft University of Technology petroleum engineer, in the Netherlands, Sian Jones, describes the scenario as insane and very confusing for researchers.

Here are FOUR STEPS to help you pick the ELN best suited for you;

1. Understand What You Need!

Start by asking yourself the following question: ‘What specific problems do I want to solve with an ELN?

Experts confirm that the importance of any purchase depends on whether it solves problems and meets stated goals. Therefore, evaluating any ELNs without first of all outlining the criteria to be met for a practical choice is the wrong way to go.

Such an analysis should cover what you are currently doing and what you are going to do in the future. For example, if you are currently taking notes in a notebook, storing data and performing data analysis in excel. Your specific problems are:

1) You need to get your notes documented and organized,
2) You need a repository to store your data and
3) And you need a customized function to analyze the results.

Other things that are good to consider are the type of data to be stored, how it should be stored, the workflow, collaboration facilities, data quality improvement, security, maintenance, scalability, and upgrade potential. 

All these will help you highlight specific MUST-HAVE features that narrow down your search to vendors more relevant to your needs. Avoid searching for ELNs that directly replace your paper methods and make sure you consider letting technology to drive productivity and collaboration.

Also, pay attention to the fact that you need an ELN that can seamlessly support your company’s growth with easy upgrade and uncomplicated additional applications in the future.

It is also helpful to read some comments online. Articles like the Comparative Analysis of Labii ELN & LIMS and Benchling Software Platform is very resourceful. 

2. Get a Demo!

After settling on a shorter list of potential ELN’s perfect for your organization, you can move on to utility aspects. Seeing a product in person will facilitate your understanding of how it works and an online demo can provide vendors with the easiest way to show the features to you. The goal of this demo is to further narrow down your list of ELNs that could meet your requirements.

All the products are different from each other and finding the features you want by yourself could be really difficult. For example, the features of Labii identify more with organizations that value data security, need customizations on specific data to store, and seek advanced functionalities in ELN and LIMS meanwhile, Benchling has the properties suited for end users looking for an ELN with molecular tools that are easy to access. Getting an online demo from them shouldn’t cost anything.

This is also a good time to ask questions. Be sure to tell your vendors what are the MUST-HAVE features, they will emphasize on these features and will let you know directly whether or not such functions are available. Check with your vendors how it could be done if your required function is not available, is it possible to customize, how much will it cost,

3. Get a Hands-on Experience, Get a Free Trial!

Although a majority of companies have free versions of their ELN software, they always have limitations on the functionalities, the data storage, number of users, etc. However, signing up for a free trial can give you a better sense of what value it adds to your organization or research setup.

The free trial period could also present the best time to educate yourself and other members of your team on how to use it. After the trial period, you can then propose the customization of a few more features that will make the ELN even more perfect for you or decide to try out another option on your narrowed list without any extra expenditure.

4. Negotiate A Good Price!

Succeeding to pick the right ELN can offer a good and fast return on investment. But the price has to be right as well. What you pay should be driven by factors like:

- At least 20-30% efficiency improvements
- Cost-effectiveness and R&D productivity enhancement by at least 7.5% per user
- Potential to improve your intellectual property by 25%

Most ELN vendors usually have price plans that are customizable and negotiable. With these in mind, negotiate the price that reflects the best deal for you both and discusses the development of any special features you may need.

Labii also provides Pay Per Use options, it allows you to use full functionalities of the ELN & LIMS without putting in too much budget upfront. If you can’t afford an expensive ELN or LIMS, The Pay-Per-Use option is a great option for you to try.

Follow this four-step guide and easily get yourself the ELN software that is designed to serve the specific needs of your organization.

Yonggan Wu