The lab notebook is attached

Missing data is a big obstacle in the way towards making science more transparent and efficient, and Open Notebook Science attempts to overcome this barrier by posting any research-related data and notes as they arise, such that – as Jean-Claude Bradley put it in 2006:

all of the information available to the researchers to make their conclusions is equally available to the rest of the world.


An unorthodox approach to the matter is to scan a paper-based lab notebook and to put it into the supplementary materials of the paper that came out of the research described therein. As others have commented, this does not necessarily solve the transparency and efficiency problems (mainly because the file is not searchable in meaningful way), but hey, it is certainly way better than the still largely unquestioned default of not sharing lab notes at all, as it helps to address issues that may arise when reading the paper.

Plus, such a file can serve as an illustration of the concept of a lab notebook, which is indeed what today’s Open Access File of the Day does.



  1. Notebook S1 of the article A Test of the Coordinated Expression Hypothesis for the Origin and Maintenance of the GAL Cluster in Yeast, published by Gregory I. Lang and David Botstein in PLoS ONE in 2011. Detailed comment and broader perspective by Rory Macneil.
  2. Licensed CC BY.
  3. Used, e.g., on the Korean and German Wikipedias.
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One Response to The lab notebook is attached

  1. True, scanning a page doesn’t make it easily searchable but taking a few minutes to abstract the main results (like the numerical ones in this scanned page) and linking back to the notebook page can work very well.

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