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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Labii ELN & LIMS vs Benchling, Which one should I choose?

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I wrote an article about Comparative Analysis of Labii ELN & LIMS and Benchling Software Platform, this blog covers all details of that article.

Labii ELN & LIMS
Benchling Notebook
Company Introduction
Labii Inc. is a software company headquartered in San Bruno, CA. that develops and distributes Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) and Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).
Benchling, the data management and collaboration platform built to advance life sciences research.
Both companies are startups and are only existing for a few years.

Labii is more flexible, Benchling is more specific.
It is designed to meet the diversity requirement of all research lab and can be used for all industry fields.
For example, a biotech company, mining company, agriculture farm.
It is specifically designed for biological experimentation.
For example, research labs from Bioscience Department of a University.
Labii is designed for all industry, Benchling is designed for biological sciences only.
Labii ELN & LIMS vs Benchling, Which one should I choose?
Labii ELN & LIMS

Labii ELN & LIMS vs Benchling, Which one should I choose?

Intellectual Properties
Labii is centralized around the organization, all data created belong to the organization.
Benchling is centralized around personal, the user has the freedom to set data as personal or organization.
If you as an organization, prefer full control over the data generated, use Labii.
If you as a user, prefer freedom on where to put data, use Benchling.
Account, role
One account is one organization. The organization can create members. The user can NOT join an organization.
User information is private.
Organization information is private.
One account is one user.
User information is public, an organization can search existing users and add the user.
Organization information is public, the user can search existing organization and request to join.
If you as an organization, prefer full control on your users, use Labii, otherwise, use Benchling.
If you as an organization or user, concern about your organization or personal information, use Labii, otherwise, use Benchling.
Permission is defined at the project level, users can only view/edit the records they are permitted.
Permission is defined at the project level for shared projects. Users have full permission on personal data.
If you as a organization, prefer full control on your users, use Labii, otherwise, use Benchling.
ELN - Add an experiment
Add -> Experiment -> Select project, provide name, description, date started, and other required attributions -> Submit
Add -> Create Entry -> Provide name, select a project -> Submit
Both are easy to create.
Labii has higher IP protection and permission control, the project that the user can contributed is restricted.
Benchling provides more freedom to users to create their own folders/projects.
ELN - Add from template
Add -> Experiment (plus button on right) -> Select a template -> Update the form -> Submit.
Oops, I could not find this function.
The operation for Labii to add a template is similar to add an experiment, but the function is obscured for new users.
ELN - Edit an experiment
Unlimited number of sections can be added to a record. Each section works like an app in your smartphone, and can hold any type of data as different widget choosed.
Use Text widgets to document free text, use Table widgets to create a editable table, use Files widgets to preview files, use Signature widgets to sign the documents, All column data, including metadata, is managed via the Column Data widget.
There are ~30 widgets publically available, Labii is continually developing more widgets to meet research needs.
They also provide services to develop custom widgets to meet the customer’s specific requirements.
Each entry has 3 modules: Protocol, Notes, and Metadata.
Use protocol to reference a protocol. Use notes to document any free text, table, or files. Use metadata to record other values.
Labii is designed for advanced users, who want to use ELN to perform tasks more than note taking, like data analysis, tracking the usage of samples. Labii is extendable for new functions.
Benchling is for the users who familiar with word documents, and only need to write down what they did.

Labii is so far, the only ELN that is modularized, extendable for advanced functions. Choose Labii if you are seeking additional functions in ELN

All other ELN, include Benchling, are the optimized version of Google Docs or Microsoft Words. Choose Benchling if you only need to a write down what you did in ELN
ELN - Sign an experiment
Add a Signature widget to sign and lock the experiment.
Send for review to sign. Paid users only.

ELN - Regulation
Meet the requirement of GLP and FDA 21 CFR part 11.
Blockchain enhanced Version Control and Activity tracking.
Meet the requirement of GLP and FDA 21 CFR part 11.
Change history is available.

Labii provides full LIMS to store any type of data, which includes but not limited to Samples, Reagents, Equipments, Locations. Custom tables can be provided for all other type of data like Plasmid, Cell lines, Proteins,
Benchling provides management of Registries, Samples.
If you need to manage inventory or other type of data, use Labii.
If you need to manage sequences registries use Benchling.
LIMS - Consumption
Widgets are available to record how much samples/reagents are used in an experiment, and to show the consumption history of a sample/reagent.
Not application.

LIMS - Workflow Management
Still on alpha testing.
Structure processes from discovery to bioprocessing to track progress, eliminate bottlenecks, and power better research decisions.

Other - Molecular tools
Not application.
Labii will provide widgets for the molecular tool as required
Benchling come with gene editing and CRISPR (Paid customers only)
The molecular tools at Benchling is more sophisticated
Other - Data analysis
Use widgets to perform different data analysis
Not applicable.

Other - Document management
All documents is managed at the Files table.
No Document management portion is available.

Other - Request management
The request can be done via custom columns and tasks.
Request Management streamlines every step of the request fulfillment process — from scheduling and documentation to tracking and reporting — and enables teams to manage resource allocation in real-time.

Account Lockout Policy
Failed Login Report
Encrypted Traffic with HTTPS
Protection From Clickjacking
Excessive Session Timeout
Daily Backup
Invalidated Session After Logout
Highly Restricted Access to Labii Backend
Content Security Policy (CSP)
X-XSS-Protection Header
Periodic Vulnerability Testing
Industry encryption
Regularly backed up

Labii is very secure but less convenient. You need to relogin after 30 minutes of inactive.
Benchling is more convenient but less secure.
Support tickets, the team replies within 24 hours.
Paid Support is available for Immediate assistance
Chat, the team typically replies in 1d
Tested on Aug 2018: I am able to get a response from Labii within one hour. I did not not get a reply from Benchling after 24 hours.
Subscription ($960/user/year)
Pay-Per-Use ($0.1/record)

Free for academic with limited functionalities.
Subscription ($1250/user/year)
If you prefer simple functions and do not have any budget, use Academic plan of Benchling.
If you prefer advanced functions and willing to pay a few buckets, use PPU plan of Labii.
Extendable functionalities
Full permission control and IP protection
Simple, easy to get started
Molecular tools

Learning curve required
Less secure
Limited functions

Labii is good for organizations that value their research data, and who seeking better solutions in ELN to resolve research bottleneck.

Labii is a new innovative ELN that is different to any existing products. Scientists who only familiar with Microsoft Office is not comfortable with the complexity.
Benchling is good for users who prefer word-like interface as ELN, and who need easy-to-access molecular tools.
Both platform are designed to meet the needs of their customers. Labii is designed for organizations, while Benchling is designed for end-users. User should select based on their own preference, there are no such things as one is better than the other.

Benchling is well-known, Labii is seldom known. While as a scientific tool, this only means Benchling has more capital in marketing and they are doing a great job in selling their products. It is still too early to say which product will dominant the ELN industry in the future, but I have faith on Labii.

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