Electronic Research Notebook: A tool to simplify research management

October 5, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Health Information Technology & Services (HITS) and the Michigan Medicine Office of Research are pleased to announce a new tool that will soon make its mark on Michigan Medicine research. The Electronic Research Notebook — or ERN — will be available at no cost to all Michigan Medicine faculty, students, and staff beginning on Nov. 1.

The ERN offers researchers the benefits, efficiencies, security and long-term cost savings of centralized, paperless data storage. Users can manage their labs efficiently, protect intellectual property, secure collaboration and easily track samples.

“I am delighted to be the executive sponsor of such a powerful tool. The ERN includes an impressive range of features designed specifically to address modern scientific workflows and data management challenges,” said George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Medical School, executive director, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research.

Broadly, the Electronic Research Notebook automates the storage and retrieval of numerous aspects of research, from brainstorming, through data collection and collaboration, to archiving. More specifically, the ERN aids researchers in accomplishing the following:

  • Creating, managing, and accessing data and lab records across any platform
  • Selectively assigning access to multiple users
  • Linking to data from other locations such as M+Box
  • Tracking activity of every lab member
  • Digitally signing and date stamping to protect internet protocol
  • Retaining document versions for convenient access to a full history
  • Promoting secure and easy collaboration within and outside the university

Soon, university researchers, students, and faculty will share in the benefits the ERN offers, including:

  • Cloud-based storage accessible from anywhere where Internet access is available
  • Easily managed, unlimited data storage that is safe from loss
  • Secure, role-based access to data
  • Access to data, notes, and file retention even after a lab member leaves
  • Digital data storage, which—unlike paper—is ready for analysis
  • Long-term cost savings
  • Searchable, easy data retrieval
  • Convenient organization and versioning of shared documents

“Cooperation between HITS, ITS, and U-M colleges and schools will be essential to the success of the Electronic Research Notebook,” observed John Brussolo, senior director, HITS Research Applications and Advanced Computing division.

“We are looking forward to offering this IT service,” continued Brussolo. “The ERN promotes inter- and intra-lab collaboration, as well as team science. It is an important technology tool that enables the University of Michigan to remain a leader in scientific discoveries.” Brussolo also commented that the robust IT research service will eventually serve all three U-M campuses.

Training dates in early November will be announced soon. For more information, email the HITS LabRATS team or view the HITS Knowledge Base for ERN set up, best practices and archiving.

Mashour is a professor of anesthesiology and a professor of neurosurgery — U-M Medical School, and adjunct professor of psychology — College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

The Electronic Research Notebook is managed by LabArchives.