How chemists can use Atlassian Confluence as an electronic laboratory notebook

David Simpson PhD FRSA
David Simpson PhD FRSA
Last updated: January 18, 2024
Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash

The laboratory notebook is an essential tool for chemists to document experiments, observations, and findings. It is critical for record-keeping, compliance, and the reproducibility of scientific results. However, traditional paper-based notebooks can be time-consuming to maintain and difficult to search and share.

In recent years, electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) have emerged as a popular alternative, and Atlassian Confluence is a platform which can be adopted to use as an ELN.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of using Atlassian Confluence as an electronic laboratory notebook, specifically for chemists.

Improved Collaboration

Atlassian Confluence is a collaboration platform that allows multiple users to contribute and edit content. In a laboratory setting, this means that multiple chemists can access and contribute to the same notebook, promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing. It is easy to set up user permissions, ensuring that only authorised users have access to sensitive information.

Easy Organisation and Search

Confluence's organisation features make it easy to structure and categorise the notebook's content.

Each project can be created as a separate Confluence space and related pages can be labelled to organise experiments by project, date, or chemical family. This makes it easy to find and retrieve specific information quickly.

You can create your own space and page templates so that there is greater consistency between projects and a common and familiar space structure for all your scientists to use and navigate each other's project spaces in a consistent and familiar manner.

All content can be commented upon, leading to discussion between researchers displayed in context with the lab notes.

Additionally, the search functionality in Confluence allows users to search for keywords, making it easy to locate specific experiments or data.

Compliance with Regulations

One of the benefits of using Confluence as a laboratory notebook is that it can help with compliance with regulations such as 21 CFR Part 11, GLP, and GMP.

Confluence provides an audit trail of all edits and changes, ensuring that all changes are traceable, and the integrity of the data is maintained.

Flexibility and Customisation

Confluence is a flexible platform that can be customised to meet the specific needs of a laboratory. For example, templates can be created for different types of experiments, making it easy to maintain consistency across the notebook. Additionally, Confluence can be integrated with other laboratory software to allow for seamless integration of data.

Integrations and macros

Chemistry Toolkit for Confluence

Our Chemistry Toolkit for Confluence app allows chemists to:

  • embed and display chemical structures and equations using the SMILES notation
  • embed and display chemical structures using the InChI notation
  • embed and display LaTeX math and chemical equations using the LaTeX notation
  • embedding of 3D molecular structures with a 3D viewer
  • embed and display CSV files as tables with all SMILES, InChI and LaTeX notation rendered in the table
  • embed and display data from other sources within a Confluence page as tables with all SMILES, InChI and LaTeX notation rendered in the table

It is available to try for free on the Atlassian Marketplace

Table from CSV

The Table from CSV macro allows you to attach tabular data to a page and then connect this data with a chart to quickly and easily display graphical information about your data sets.

It allows you to tabulate data from an attached file or from an external source.

It is available by itself or as part of the Chemisty Toolkit for Confluence.

These apps further expand the scope of what Confluence can record for the scientist.

Using Atlassian Confluence as a laboratory notebook has numerous benefits. It promotes collaboration, makes it easy to organise and search data, ensures compliance with regulations, is flexible and customisable, and is cost-effective. With its ease of use and collaboration features, Confluence is an ideal platform for chemists looking to streamline their record-keeping and maintain compliance while promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Further reading

Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash

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