How would you answer these questions based on your research circumstances?
"Maintaining a permanent record of the details (including the data) of an individual’s day-to-day research work in the laboratory or office."
All researchers have an interest in, and responsibility to, protect the integrity of the research record.
Why do we care?
-To reconstruct/reproduce what was done (validation)
-To assign credit to researchers
-To prepare reports, papers, etc.
-To teach others how to analyze results, develop new tests, identify errors
-To meet contractual requirements
-To avoid fraud or carelessness (both of which could call the research into question)
-To defend patent claims (US patent law follows first-to-conceive not first-to-file system)
A laboratory notebook is a record of both the physical and mental activity of research. The principles of good record keeping include:
Best practices for record keeping in your lab notebook should include:
Who did it (the person making the record)
What you did: experiment descriptions, data outputs; analysis
Why you did it: process explanations
How you did it: protocols, calculations, equipment (including instrument information: type, serial number), materials used, time taken, etc.
When you did it: chronological layout
Where materials are
What happened (& what did not): results/findings
Contributions of others & what’s next/next steps
Data should be recorded in ways that cannot be altered. Records also should be protected from destruction (ranging from fading caused by sunlight or flooding to computer crashes).