Resources for ‘Going Digital’ with your Lab

In this month’s issue of Lab Horizons is focused on going digital in the lab. We’ve put together articles and discussions that might help any researcher understand ‘going digital’ and provide tips and guidance. This article is one of our features from the issue focused on what resources there are around to help.

As we’ve set out in the cover story for this issue digital roll outs in labs are difficult to plan and even more difficult to do a good job of implementing. But along side all the how-to-s and advice it’s important to highlight the wealth of help that is already out there for researchers looking to digitalize their labs. Here are key resources to consider: 

1. European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) 

The EBI, part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), provides a wealth of data resources, tools, and support specifically geared towards bioinformatics. Their offerings are crucial for labs needing robust data management and analysis tools that cater to biological data. The EBI hosts databases and resources such as ENSEMBL for genomic research, as well as training in data handling and software development, making it an excellent resource for labs looking to enhance their digital capabilities in the life sciences. 

2. LabArchives 

LabArchives is a leading electronic lab notebook (ELN) platform that enables researchers to store, organize, and manage their data digitally. This tool is invaluable for labs transitioning to paperless systems. It supports regulatory compliance, facilitates collaboration among team members, and enhances data security through cloud storage. 

3. Research Data Alliance (RDA) 

The Research Data Alliance is an international member-based organization focused on developing the social and technical infrastructure needed to drive data sharing and data-driven research. RDA facilitates collaboration among data professionals, scientists, and researchers globally to tackle common data challenges. They provide guidelines, working groups, and practical tools to support data management practices across various scientific disciplines. 

4. GitHub 

GitHub is not just for software developers. Researchers can use GitHub to manage and collaborate on code development for lab projects. It provides version control and source code management functionality that is crucial for developing custom software tools or algorithms needed in modern digital labs. 

5. ResearchGate and Academia.edu 

These platforms are known for networking; but they also provide researchers with access to the latest studies, preprints, and conference papers about digital tools and methodologies in the scientific community. Staying updated on the latest digital trends and research can inspire and inform labs on effective digital strategies. 

6. Local University Partnerships 

Finally, partnering with local universities can provide access to seminars, workshops, and training sessions about digital tools and lab management software. Many universities have resources that are specifically designed to help research labs leverage new technologies. 

Embracing digital technology can seem daunting, but with the right resources, any lab can transition smoothly into a more efficient and collaborative digital age. Utilising these platforms not only enhances data handling and experiment accuracy but also prepares your lab for future technological advancements in the field of research. 

Matthew

Matthew has been writing and cartooning since 2005 and working in science communication his whole career. Matthew has a BSc in Biochemistry and a PhD in Fibre Optic Molecular Sensors and has spent around 16 years working in research, 5 of which were in industry and 12 in the ever-wonderful academia.

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