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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Comparative Analysis of Labii ELN & LIMS and Benchling Software Platform

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Comparative Analysis of Labii ELN & LIMS and Benchling Software Platform
Labii ELN & LIMS vs Benchling


There are quite a good number of published write-ups providing tips on how to select a good electronic lab notebook. However, most of these articles are biased, problematic and not quite resourceful because:
i. The writers are often scientific writers who have never used an ELN
ii. A majority of the articles cover just the surface of ELN utility and fail to touch the functionalities in detail. 
iii. Most of the articles are paid articles which only mention the products of the vendors who paid for them.

As an industry expert and founder of an ELN, I’m closely in touch with over 300 biotech companies/labs and will like to provide a unique comparative analysis of Labii and Benchling. I’ll cover details on Development, IP, Customers, ELN, LIMS, Security, and Price.


1. Development Highlights


With headquarters in San Bruno, CA, Labii Inc. is a software company which focuses on the development and distribution of ELN and LIMS.

Our Labii ELN and LIMS provide flexible solutions to all research data management challenges, with the unique capacity for high-level customization according to the type of data to be stored (notes, protocols, reagents, etc.), the data attribution, and the detail of each record.

Relatively new to the scene as well, the Benchling data management and collaboration platform are more specifically designed for the advancement of research in life sciences.

There are six different Benchling products (Lab Notebook, Bioregistry, Molecular Biology Suite, Sample Tracking, Workflow Management and Request Management) which serve for six different laboratory requests.

Both companies have existed for just a few years and tackle data management in different ways.


2.    Intellectual, Account and Role Properties


Labii is structured for entire organizations who intend to own and control all created data. Each account represents one organization which is allowed to create members with user information regarded as private. Users can’t join the organization and all information including that of the organization is private.  

Benchling is more centralized for personal use. Accounts are for users who are free to set data as personal or organization. User and organization information is public which means, organizations can search and add existing users. Also, users can search and request to join existing organizations.

These properties make Labii the ideal platform for organizations looking for complete control over the activities of their users. Also, if your organization is concerned about its information and personal information from its users, use Labii.

Benchling will be perfect if none of these issues disturb the functioning of your organization.


3.    Customers


Tailored towards the diverse requirements of all research laboratories, Labii can be used by companies in all fields of the industry; biotech, mining, agriculture, etc.

On the other hand, the design of Benchling supports biological experimentation best, making it particularly suited for Bioscience research labs in Universities, and so on.


4.     Permission and Procedures


With Labii ELN and LIMS, permission is defined at the level of the project as users are only permitted to view/edit specific records. This is not particularly so with Benchling as permission is defined at the project level for shared projects but users have full control over personal data.

Creating an ELN experiment is easy with both Labii and Benchling. Labii just has higher IP protection, and permission control, offering restricted contribution to users. Meanwhile, users are free to create their own folders/projects on Benchling.

Templates can be added on the Labii platform with the possibility of  adding records from templates .  I didn’t find this function while testing Benchling, but I believe it’s available and I just couldn’t find it.


5.    ELN Utility


The versatile and extendibility properties of Labii are very much expressed in the possibility of adding unlimited number of sections to a record. Opposed to Benchling’s 3 standard modules; Protocol, Notes, and Metadata (respectively used to reference protocol, document free text, tables or files, and record values), Labii ELN helps users go beyond note taking with advanced functions like data analysis and sample usage tracking.

Each section of an experiment on Labii works like a smartphone app which can hold any data type according to the widget selected. Text widgets can be used to document free text, table widgets for the creation of editable tables, file widgets to preview files, signature widgets to sign documents, Column Data widget for the management of all column data, etc.

In addition to the 30 publicly available widgets, Labii is constantly working to develop more widgets to meet other research needs. We also help develop custom widgets for our customers to meet their specific requirements.

Labii ELN and Benchling both meet the standard requirements of GLP and FDA 21 CRF part 11. And our platform offers Blockchain enhanced Version control and Activity Tracking.


6.    LIMS Utility


At Labii, we provide full LIMS which store virtually any type of data including; Samples, Equipment, Reagents, Locations, etc. Custom tables can also be created for other specific data types like Cell lines, Proteins, Plasmid, etc. Molecular tools, recording of consumption history for samples/reagents, and Data analysis are available with the use of widgets.

Contrarily, Benchling only supports the management of Registries and Samples. However, processes are structured from discovery through bioprocessing to track progress, eliminate bottlenecks, and drive better research decision. Similar LIMS workflow management facilities are still on alpha testing with Labii.

Benchling’s molecular tools are more sophisticated, as paid customers are delivered the version with gene editing and CRISPR.


7.    Security


With much more security guarantees and slightly compromised convenience, Labii ELN and LIMS safety is owed to our Account Lockout Policy and excessive session timeouts which require users to log in again after 30 inactive minutes. Failed Login Reports, Encrypted Traffic with HTTPS, Daily Backup, Content Security Policy (CSP), Periodic Vulnerability Testing, X-XSS-Protection Header all contribute to our unique security.

The lower security guarantees of Benchling source from industry encryption and regular back-ups. 


8.    Price and Support


Annual Labii subscription costs $960 per user and $0.1 per record for the Pay-Per-Use option. Our team responds to support tickets within 24 hours and there is immediate assistance with Paid Support.

Benchling with limited functionalities is free for academic missions and the annual subscription for the full software costs $1250.

The Benchling Academic plan would be perfect if you have no budget and only need a few simple functions.

If you need advanced functions and can afford a few bucks, then the Pay-Per-Use plan of Labii looks more like it.


CONCLUSION


The customization aspect, capacity for extended functionalities, full permission control and IP protection of Labii are strong data management advantages with the stand out pros of Benchling being its simplicity, sophisticated molecular tools, and free option.

It’s important to note that despite the many advantages, the Labii software platform requires more learning.

We can, therefore, conclude that Labii is perfect for organizations that value research data security and are looking to exploit our new innovative ELN and resolve research bottlenecks almost all the other existing products can’t handle. Meanwhile, Benchling is one of the best options for end-users who prefer a simple word-like interface as ELN and need easy-to-access molecular tools.

Benchling is currently more popular. However, no one can say with outright certainty which of these two will dominate the future of the ELN industry as Labii is a uniquely effective scientific tool with the unrivaled potential. 

Detail of notes are available at Labii ELN & LIMS vs Benchling, Which one should I choose?

By Yonggan Wu

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