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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
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
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
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