Although it may seem like a traditional way of doing things, keeping a scientific notebook for all your important laboratory information is necessary. A laboratory notebook helps you record research notes and easily retrieve critical data without having to scour through pieces of paper. If you’re not convinced yet, here are some of the benefits of having lab notebooks and why you need one, like yesterday!
1. Record for Your Data
However obvious this seems, it’s still an important element of having a scientific notebook, especially when processing a lot of information such as research notes. You need a central place to record your data instead of using multiple sticky notes which often got lost, or jotting down key points on your hands.
2. Keep Your Work Organized
A laboratory notebook helps you organize your work and be more systematic. Having all your data in a central place makes it possible to sort and retrieve information without any trouble. Like a personal diary, a lab notebook aids proper organization of work into specific tasks, departments, and teams while making it fast to delegate work with a place to refer. By recording down what needs to be done and who needs to complete a particular task, you can efficiently manage workloads and monitor progress.
3. Plan Your Work
Having a research notebook can also serve as a reminder of the things you’re planning to do, and not just what you’ve completed. Planning your activities and to-do-list will offer a clear path of tasks ahead and their respective timelines. This gives you insight on how to approach each task and enable you to devise the best of action. From there you can easily develop a progress report on how much you’ve covered and what’s remaining.
4. Creating an Audit Trail
In addition to noting down critical data, another function of a scientific notebook is recording any updated information in ensuring data integrity. If you’re making any changes to the current information, it’ll be prudent to have it written down, particularly if there is a group of people sharing the same research information.
5. Source of Reference Information
If you’re working with a team or a group project, laboratory information and research data is not only beneficial to you but also other members of the group. Therefore you need to ensure your notes are well organized making it easy for others to access and interpret information. A clear and updated lab notebook will streamline and speed up the work since team members will spend less time retrieving data and there will be no need for further clarifications.
6. Key Publication Source
Keeping a lab notebook is also highly recommended if you’re working on a project and you’d want to patent it someday or publish papers for future references. Publishing work on public domains without a backup source as evidence is risking the rights to the work. So keep a recorded scientific notebook as evidence to support your claims in the event you’re required to prove a particular research project is yours. Ensure that the notebook is kept a secret if it’s not a team project to avoid copyright and patent infringement issues.
7. Record Protocols
Having your plans recorded on the lab notebook means your following a particular set of protocols to achieve the desired laboratory and experiment results. If you have protocols in place, all your experiments are guided and issues arising in between are monitored. In case you’re planning to repeat an experiment, the protocols can guide you through the steps of a successful experiment. Updates can be made along the way.
Why You Should Consider a Digital Scientific Notebook
With the improved technology and the need for data efficiency, people are increasingly embracing the use of digital lab notebook as it offers more convenience and preserves data integrity. It’s easy to record data using a digital notebook and your data is protected from alteration without your authorization. Sharing information and comparing notes is also convenient with this method of recording lab research data since it’s all done online. More advanced digital scientific notebooks allow you to even delegate work to other members and hold a conversation within the platform without necessarily having to meet.