Digital tools

My Favourite Digital Scientific Tools

Every time I went to visit some other laboratory, either at a University, Institute or in the Industry, I realized that the tools to manage their research workflows were different to those I was using. I asked myself, is there actually a list somewhere with different tools categorized in a comprehensive order? I did a quick search and came across the “Comprehensive researchers” webpage where I found different tools for managing scientific data, collaboration, literature search and publishing. I have also added a few myself and this became a list of tools that I personally find extremely useful and may find a place in your lab (and computer) as well.

sciNote: Free and easy-to-use Open source electronic laboratory notebook that manages your scientific data, enables integration of existing tools you are already using and promotes collaboration. You can take it to the lab on your tablet or smartphone.

QuartzysciNote: free and intuitive laboratory management platform.

One Note and Evernote: these are keeping your notes digital and searchable. No need for pen and paper to keep you company at the meetings.

GenBank: indispensable Gene sequence database provided by the NIH’s National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Figshare: a cloud-based platform where you can make your research publicly available and citable. helps you discover and share your protocols. What I really like is their beautiful mobile application, which you can take to your laboratory as well. Larger and very useful is also the Protocols Online database.

Mendeley: a free and very intuitive reference manager and article visualization platform.

Trello and droptask: both excellent tools for task management

ResearchGate: in my opinion absolutely the best social network for researchers.

The list definitely does not end here, but what is most important is that each individual researcher should find a combination of tools that works best for him. I believe that in the future researchers will only use one platform for managing their work, one that will integrate in a modular way the tools they are already using. This is also the ambition of the creators behind the sciNote.


By Jana Erjavec, PhD


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