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Table 5 These are the desired features elicited from the different user studies, linked to the priorities and barriers they relate to from the Dial-a-Molecule surveys

From: Electronic lab notebooks: can they replace paper?

Category Desired Features Priorities (DaM)/Addressing Barriers
Recording notes Simple to install Personalisable Post-it notes TODO lists Create default values Easy to write in as a paper notebook Facilitate different experiments Range of experiment templates 55.6%—Saving time over the paper notebook process is important Barrier: Ease of use (3.2)
Organising notes Indexable/highlightable Contents table/overview screen/timeline Spellchecker Tag/classify notes and experiments Store metadata Use of standard vocabularies (ontologies/measurement techniques) 80.2%—Improved quality of record keeping is important
Searching Keyword/filtered search Data traceability Advanced searches by chemical structure Include reactions schemes in search results Voice searches Sortable results 90.6%—Improved ability to search and re-use documented information is important
Linking data Upload/link files, images and data files to notes Link between different notebooks Link to reference managers Dropbox-esque features (automatic data update) Automatically link to external chemistry resources 73.6%—Improve access to data as linked data through ELN is important Barriers: Data Compatibility and Portability (3.6)
Writing reports ‘Generate Report’ button to generate a publication ready report Integrate and store different types of documents (Excel, Word, PDF, Pictures, Handwritten notes) Copy sketches into notebook Paper notebooks integration Digital pen integration Migration tools Export functionality Barrier: software and system integration and compatibility (3.5)
Performing calculations and scientific functionality Perform calculations, formulas and equations as easily as paper Create sketches and diagrams Recognise a chemical when entered Risk Assessment Templates/view electronically Flags for dangerous chemicals Index of COSHH materials Global database of chemical values Notifications for approvals Sign off entries to make them non editable 60.4%—Easy inclusion of safety data is important
Use of Technology in the Lab (accessibility) Web Based/Platform Independent Tablet/Smartphone Compliant Text recognition, drawing and photo capabilities Usable in the lab like a paper notebook Voice capture Built in language for extensibility 79.3%—Access to notebook from more locations is important Barrier: Access (3.4)
Archiving and backup Secure storage, backup and archives Downloads/printing 87.8%—Secure automatic backup of data is important
Intellectual property Secure access Different access levels for users 37.8%—Better protection of IP is important
Collaboration Shared files/notebooks Standard list of instruments and reagents Link related people and notebooks Coordination for Open Source and Access Sign up and ‘get involved’ pages Configurable stand-alone to act as portals for projects and landing pages for collaborators Enable users to find out who is working on similar molecules of reactions (requires inbuilt understanding of molecules) 63.2%—Better ability to collaborate and share information is important
Project activities Recent activity feed with notifications Page statistics Bulletin boards Moderate comments 64.1%—Improved group/project management is important