If you’re a student working in the lab of your university or you’re getting ready to work for a research company, having a lab notebook is essential to your work. For example, developing a medicine or vaccine can take 10 to 15 years to do. In that time, there’s going to be a lot of information to keep track of; you can’t possibly remember or find the information you need without a centralized and organized place for record-keeping. Here are three ways your laboratory notebook will make your research easier.
1. Storing your work
Laboratory notebooks are great for storing your work in a central location. Working in a lab can sometimes require doing a lot of different tasks. You’ll need the right data in order to help with your observations and make the best conclusions. Having your data written down on sticky notes or piles of paper might make it difficult to find your data and could slow your work down. The benefit of having a research notebook is that you have everything stored in one place. All you have to do is open your notebook and turn to the right page.
In addition to storing data for you to remember later, you can use your notebook to store the work you plan to do in the future. It will keep you on track in making sure you finish all of your experiments on time. For example, you’ll need to remember the protocols that you followed during an experiment. In case you have to repeat one of your tests, you won’t have to struggle to remember what you did in that last experiment. You’ll have the protocols in your notebook to easily follow again.
2. Keeping your team organized
When working in a laboratory, you’re not always going to be working alone. Sometimes, you’ll be managing a team of other students or colleagues. When you’re working with more people, that means there’s more to remember and more to keep organized. With your lab notebook, you can have all the tasks you plan to delegate to your team already written down. When you need to know the progress of a specific task, you can look back at your notebook to see who’s working on it.
3. Preparing for future patents
This is perhaps the best benefit of having a laboratory notebook. You might decide that your research gave you something worth patenting. In order to obtain a patent, you need data and evidence to support what you discovered. Patents require a record of your work, the process of developing your discovery, and the time frame you performed the experiments. That way, you can prove it’s your original work and you get credited as the person who made the discovery. With the global pharma market set to reach $1.12 trillion by 2022, getting a patent could be a very lucrative decision. Being able to date your laboratory notebook accordingly and prove your ownership of the invention or discovery will safeguard your success.
As you can see, having a lab notebook will benefit you in a number of ways as a student and in your future work as a researcher. Find one to be able to start keeping your work recorded, your team organized, and be prepared for your future patents.