About us

More about ResearchSpace, providers the electronic lab notebook eCAT, the tool that lets you manage experimental data and samples in an integrated online environment.


When/Who

The founders of ResearchSpace met at Edinburgh in 2003 - 2005. Nigel Goddard had spearheaded a project at Edinburgh University to develop a user configurable database for managing scientific data, and he brought Rory Macneil in to help develop the business that was spun out to take the project forward. Over the years we have had several lead developers and software engineers. For more information about Rory and Nigel, see our Team page.

For more information about the eCAT story, read this blog entry.

 

Why

The most interesting aspect of the internet's impact on scientific research is the opportunities it has opened up for better collaboration and communication. With paper labbooks everyone kept the record of their research in their own individual labbook. They could share this with others in person. This now seems to be very constraining, both in terms of the limited opportunities for looking at someone else's lab book, and the degree of scrutiny possible in a casual review of a borrowed physical thing. Over the past five years or so, new collaborative tools like wikis and Google Docs have sprung up that allow multiple users to enter and create data in the same environment. They can see each other's work, and comment on it, anytime, from any computer with internet access.


The new collaborative possibilities have been matched by new possibilities for communication. Alongside email are a plethora of messaging services, ones that stand on their own and ones that sit inside social media, and of course Twitter.


But on closer examination the opportunities for better collaboration and communication in research have yet to be explored on a widespread basis. Yes, many labs have adopted Google Docs and wikis to share information, but the vast majority still use paper labbooks to carry out their core activity, the recording and analysis and presentation of experimental data. And yes, many scientists use social media to communicate about personal matters, but as a recent study pointed out, they generally do not use them for communicating about work with colleagues in the lab. Finally, most labs are still managing samples with spreadsheets and written lists!


At ResearchSpace we are committed to bringing the internet's power to collaborate and communicate to the core mission of the lab: creation, analysis and presentation of experimental data.

 

What

ResearchSpace's vision is to provide a (killer) collaboration and communication application to scientists, enabling them to leverage the internet to go about their core research mission in a more efficient and productive, and less stressful way. The first step in realizing that vision is eCAT, a tool that lets you manage experimental data and samples in an integrated online environment. With eCAT you get the collaborative power and ease of use of Google Docs and wikis plus the benefits that come with the structure of a database: fine tuned sharing and more precise search. And you get a messaging and notifications system that allows lab members to communicate about their research without having to leave the eCAT environment. With a full audit trail and two levels of electronic signatures, eCAT is fully capable of supporting patentable research and compliance with regulations like 21 CFR part 11, so work which was previously done in the paper labbook can now be done in eCAT.


And with eCAT 4.0, you get a full sample management capability which, moreover, is full integrated with eCAT's notebook capability so that you can integrate sample management with recording experimental data.


The end result? With eCAT lab members can enter experimental and sample data as well as other kinds of information in an integrated collaborative environment that everyone in the lab has access to, in a controlled fashion, and communicate about that data and information, from the lab, from home, or on the road, 24/7.


With the launch of eCAT on the iPad, our vision of bringing the internet’s power to scientists has taken a big leap forward.  With eCAT on the iPad, your iPad becomes your lab notebook.  You no longer need to enter some research data by hand and other research data in your computer - it can all be entered, and accessed, in both your iPad/iPhone and your computer.”  And managing samples just got a lot easier -- with eCAT on the iPad you can find information about freezer samples and enter new information about samples, at the freezer or anywhere else in the lab, on your iPad or iPhone.

 

Where

The company is based in Edinburgh, close to Edinburgh University where it was envisioned.

eCAT is a flexible, easy to use electronic lab notebook that lets you add structure to your lab's research data in an integrated collaborative online environment.