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Table 4 How the physicists, chemists and biologists who took part in the University of Southampton Focus Groups perform different work tasks with respect to whether they use paper or electronic systems

From: Electronic lab notebooks: can they replace paper?

Category Tasks Biologists Chemists Physicists
Recording notes Experiment notes Paper—Lab Book Paper—Lab Book
Electronic—Data
Paper—Lab Book
Electronic—Data
Thinking about work notes Paper—Lab Book Paper—Lab Book
Electronic—Google Tasks
Paper—Lab Book
Electronic—Google Keep
Literature notes Paper—Print papers/handwritten notes
Electronic—reference manager
Paper—Print papers/handwritten notes
Electronic—reference manager
Paper—Print papers/handwritten notes
Electronic—reference manager
Organising notes Paper—Lab Book by date/contents page Paper—Lab Book by date/contents page
Electronic—By codes (linking to Lab Book) and by sample/experiment
Paper—Lab Book by date/contents page
Electronic—by codes (linking to Lab Book) and by category/experiment
Searching Paper—flip back and search by date Paper—flip back and search by date
Electronic—sort by date/code, or keyword search
Paper—flip back and search by date
Electronic—sort by date
Linking data Paper and Electronic notes linked by date Paper and Electronic notes linked by codes Paper and Electronic notes linked by date
Writing reports Electronic—Word/Powerpoint Electronic—Word/LaTeX Electronic—word/LaTeX
Performing calculations and scientific functionality Paper—solve
Electronic—check (Excel/GraphPad)
Paper—solve
Electronic—Check (Wolfram Alpha)
Paper—solve
Electronic—Check (Excel/XMGrace/Spartan/PyPlots/R/CSV)
Use of Technology in the Lab (accessibility) Electronic—Phone pictures/recordings Electronic—Phone/camera pictures, Emails, Blogs, USB Electronic—Phone pictures/calendar, Emails
Archiving and backup Paper—Mostly no backup (some photocopies)
Electronic—Uni computers/shared drives/the cloud/hard drives
Paper—Mostly no backup (some use carbon pages)
Electronic—Uni computers/shared drives/the cloud/hard drive
Paper—No backup
Electronic—Uni computers/shared drives/the cloud/hard drives
Intellectual property Electronic—Secure data kept on hard drive in locked draw Electronic—No cloud software for industry sponsored students Electronic—No cloud software for industry sponsored students
Collaboration Paper—Lab Book Paper—Lab Book
Electronic—shared drive/group folders
Paper—Lab Book
Electronic—shared drive/group folders