Full-Length Paper

Support for Electronic Lab Notebooks at Top American Research Universities

  • Franklin Sayre (University of Minnesota)
  • Caitlin Bakker (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities)
  • Julie Kelly (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities)
  • Megan Kocher (University of Minnesota)
  • Meghan Lafferty (University of Minnesota -Twin Cities)


Objective: Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs) are widely used in industry but little is known about their use in academia or the extent to which they are licensed or supported by research institutions or academic libraries.

Methods: This paper describes an environmental scan conducted to determine whether major research institutions in the United States are providing enterprise ELN licenses to their users, which products they are licensing, and what role of the institutional library is playing in licensing and supporting ELNs.

Results: Of the 35 universities included in our scan, 8 (23%) had an enterprise-wide license for an ELN and 10 (28%) provided some kind of support for ELNs. Of the 10 institutions that offered support for ELNs, 9 involved the library. A literature review revealed a number of barriers to adoption—from costs to the diversity of needs—that may be limiting the adoption of ELNs within research institutions.

Conclusions: This research provides evidence about the current landscape of ELN support within academic institutions and the role of libraries in these initiatives.

Keywords: Electronic Lab Notebooks, ELNs, Academic Libraries

How to Cite:

Sayre, F., Bakker, C., Kelly, J., Kocher, M. & Lafferty, M., (2018) “Support for Electronic Lab Notebooks at Top American Research Universities”, Journal of eScience Librarianship 7(2): 8. doi: https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2018.1140

Rights: Copyright Sayre et al. © 2018

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Published on
19 Oct 2018