In the last decades, many digital tools emerged to provide support to scientific collaborations. Labstep is one of them. The young company provides online software - or SaaS - for scientists to manage and share their protocols. Often know as ELN, these solutions provide many features for scientists at the lab bench to monitor their experiment properly. At the occasion of the release of a new version of their software, Labs Explorer asked few questions to Labstep.
Briefly, what is Labstep?
Labstep is a free tool for academics which provides a platform to document experimental protocols, data, and results. It also allows users to create a shared timeline for lab groups.
What is the history of the company?
Labstep was founded 3 years ago by Ph.D. students at the University of Oxford to provide a better way of documenting experimental data in a lab to make a positive difference to the scientific community. Over 50% of scientific experiments are not reproducible. One of the primary reasons for this is poor documentation of experimental protocols. Labstep, therefore, aims to make it easier to have an accurate record of scientific experiments. We also aim to improve collaboration within and between lab groups so have created a timeline where researchers’ progress can be updated real-time.
What do you offer?
Our free tool allows lab groups to set up their own teams on the platform and create shared timelines to track their progress in real-time. Researchers can also comment on posts of members of their team. Data can be attached to posts to keep all of your experimental protocols and results in one place. Many protocols are iterated and edited each time they are performed. With Labstep, you can easily note these edits to accurately note the experimental procedures, so when another researcher tries to replicate your work, they can do so with the full set of instructions.
To which field of research does Labstep apply? What kind of researchers may be interested in your tool?
Labstep is applicable to all lab-based scientists. Our current user-base, which spans over 300 universities around the world, constitutes of researchers working in a range of fields including molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, chemistry, material science and many more!
What is its main advantage?
Labstep lets you create a personal and shared timeline for you and your lab group and track your experiments in real-time. This enables easy communication within research groups and collaborators all around the world. Importantly, by tracking your protocols in real-time, users have an accurate record of experiments completed, helping to monitor their progress.
What do your users say?
Our users have found Labstep to be a very useful tool in a number of fields. A postdoctoral researcher in Plant Pathology at the University of West Virginia told us: “In Biology, Labstep helps to record variation in biological organisms which can affect experiments. Labstep makes it easy for you to follow protocols but also allows you to edit them based on results of your own experiment. Being able to record changes to the protocol will hopefully be able to help out another scientist that is experiencing the same unexpected variables as you did. Labstep is a great tool and I’m looking forward to it reaching a wider audience.”
We have also had great positive feedback from Masters and Ph.D. students around the world, and hope we can keep making a real positive difference to the scientific community!
What are the alternative solutions to your tool?
A number of electronic lab notebooks are available on the market in both academia and industry. However, Labstep is much more than an electronic lab notebook. Our tool is made to better communication within and between lab groups and improves the documentation of protocols to aid reproducibility in science. This makes Labstep unique.
Do you plan a major update in the near future?
We have just released our new version and plan to release a mobile app in the coming weeks!
Labstep is a flexible research environment that connects your notebook, inventory, applications and data in one collaborative workspace. Our mission is to serve the scientific community and increase reproducibility
Interested to learn more? Check out Labstep today