Academia: A satirical Data Management Plan

As I’ve written elsewhere, we’re increasingly working with Academic labs who need to get their Lab Notebook and general data management act together.

Whilst there are considerable differences between Academia and Industry (as indeed there are between Biotech and Pharma) I have to say I find the challenge of implementing an ELN in an academic environment quite refreshing – the constraints are such that you really have to think carefully about the human side of things, as well as ensuring you can do it all for a cost that will fit into whatever money a lab might be able to find. So far we’ve had an excellent response which is quite gratifying, and I the less buttoned-down culture is a lot of fun.

So I was greatly amused to see this satirical data management plan, ostensibly in response to an NSF request. Of course one of the reasons why it is so funny is that it is rather close to the mark!

Getting a decent data management process and associated ELN implementation in such an environment is perfectly possible, and we can often do it without inflicting too much pain on the individual researchers. Fact is, scientists became scientists because they liked science, not record keeping! Fortunately I think the tools have finally got to the stage where despite the relentless increase in computerization and resulting data volumes, we can make the record keeping side of things as transparent and hassle-free as it needs to be.