Skip to Main Content

Research Data Management

This guide is designed to support research data management by providing guidance on good practices and pointing to additional resources.

Considerations when choosing an ELN

  • Essential Features: When choosing an ELN it is important to consider what features you can't do without. Most common needs include text processing, an effective spreadsheet tool, sophisticated searching tool, the ability to import images and add annotations to image and the ability for the ELN to integrate with other tools you use.
  • Cost: It is important to consider the initial cost as well as what the cost over time will be.  Most ELN services tend to cost $10–20 per user per month. Open-source options are also available.
  • Stability: Another important aspect to consider is the stability and portability of your ELN content.  Can you continue to use the same ELN if you leave your lab or institution?  If not, can you export the notebook to a usable format and do you lose functionality if you do?
  • Collaboration features:  If you have collaborators it is important they can also access the tool.  In addition if you need to share files with non collaborators is there an easy way to download and share them in a readable format?
  • Security: An ELN can be more secure or less secure than a paper notebook depending on what protections it has. Effective data security features include encryption, password protection, limiting the number of users who access the ELN, on-site server access instead of cloud storage.
  • Specific software needs: When choosing an ELN the data collection and analysis tools you will be using and whether they are available in the ELN or can work with it (plug ins etc.) is an important consideration.


Privacy Issues

An ELN can offer more security or less than a paper notebook. Some offer data security features and it is important to consider these when choosing an ELN.  If Iinformation in the ELN is related to private data on human subjects HIPAA and FERPA might apply.