Labfolder is a cloud based digital lab notebook where users can write, draw and put together reports of their latest experiments (see blog post). They recently announced the released a mobile version of the service..
Users can now directly access their data on the go. They can also record their experiment in the lab using their mobile device, annotate them and store them in the cloud. The app is available for Android and AppStore.
Labfolder is an online digital lab notebook. An online space where users can write, draw and assemble reports of their latest experiments, that they can then safely store in the cloud.
The digital lab notebook revolution has been announced for quite some time now. There are promises of digital notebooks accessible from anywhere that are data rich, searchable, sharable and never lost or damaged by spilled coffee. But the path toward its full implementation in academic labs is long, partially because no alternatives really beats the old notebook and pencil when it comes to user friendliness. So in that respect, the challenges faced by Labfolder are significant. But Labfolder proposes interesting functionalities and a nice, clean, fresh interface that may seduces more than one researcher.
The Labfolder experience start by creating a new folder (what a surprise) in your project tab. Under each folder, multiple entries can be added, corresponding to the pages of your traditional lab notebook. Within each entry, the users can create boxes containing text, images, links to files and hand-drawn (or should I say mouse drawn) sketches that can be useful to annotate images. These boxes can be easily resized or moved around and when satisfied with an arrangement, the entries can be saved and reused as templates. After the content is added, the final entries can then be save to the cloud, or downloaded as a pdf for sharing.
Labfolder is completely free for individual use and for groups up to 3 users. A cloud space of 3 GB is offered to store all files. Forming a groups with other Labfolder users enables sharing entries and templates with collaborators.
Labfolder was started by two german PhD students from the MaxPlank Institute; Simon Bungers and Florian Hauer. They where surprised how digital tools were poorly used in research and decided to add their contribution by founding Labfolder. Labfolder is an ongoing venture, and encourage users to send their comments and ideas to them (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ResearchGate recently announced that they now encourage researchers to share data through their platform. They hope to get more unpublished information out in the open to fuel scientific discussion. Such information include:
- Datasets and raw data
- Negative results
- Figures and media files
- Unpublished articles
This new service comes in addition to a set of other services that already allow researchers to share data and unpublished information. ResearchGate, with their 2+ million users, will probably quickly become one of the main platform to publish such information. By steadily releasing new services, ResearchGate seems to be taking the lead as a social platform for scientific exchange. However published data should be easily searchable, citable and not prisoner of proprietary formats. This is not the case as of today, and I would be curious to learn more about efforts currently underway to address these issues.