La Trobe’s new Online Research Notebook


La Trobe’s Online Research Notebook allows researchers across all disciplines to digitise their work as it’s created – whether capturing ideas for a literary tome, designing an experiment or acquiring data. Powered by LabArchives, it’s an application originally developed for laboratory-based researchers to replace paper research notebooks and to manage, store and link digital research data.

The Online Research Notebook is an initiative of La Trobe’s Enterprise Research Data Management Systems Project and aligned with La Trobe’s Digital Research Strategy. The project is delivering a number of systems and services to assist researchers in managing and curating their research data.

Over 70 La Trobe researchers participated in a successful trial of LabArchives in 2017 and La Trobe is now implementing it across the enterprise with 150 users within the first few months.

Many researchers still rely on physical notebooks to record their ideas, experiments and results. They also produce digital data, whether from scientific instruments or imaging equipment, which is then printed and glued into notebooks. By implementing the Online Research Notebook, La Trobe aims to secure and provide a central point of access to all the data produced during a research project in a digital format.

The Online Research Notebook is a web-based tool that researchers can access from any internet-enabled device, anywhere in the world. It’s securely hosted in the Cloud using Amazon Web Services, with the data centres located in Australia. All data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Key to La Trobe’s decision to implement the Online Research Notebook using LabArchives were the product’s comprehensive data revision history, electronic timestamping and powerful search capability, rendering La Trobe’s research data secure, transparent and retrievable. Sharing with collaborators is simple and easily controlled.

Dr Christopher Adda, La Trobe’s Manager of Research Infrastructure remarked, “La Trobe’s Online Research Notebook enables researchers to digitise their data and ideas from its inception. It’s a great tool for managing students and collaborators across multiple projects and, in relation to IP, is particularly suited to working with industry partners.”