DOW CHEMICAL JOINS GLOBAL CONSORTIUM ON ELECTRONIC LAB NOTEBOOKS
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Wed Aug 7 23:31:29 EST 1996
This is significant news for all scientific laboratory workers who use
notebooks and software systems.
Please forward this on to interested parties in your organization.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (8/6/96)
Contact: Rich Lysakowski, Ph.D., Executive Director
The Collaborative Electronic Lab Notebooks Consortium
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INTERESTED IN MORE INFORMATION, THEN PLEASE SEND E-MAIL
TO: lysakowski at aol.com )
DOW CHEMICAL JOINS GLOBAL CONSORTIUM
ON ELECTRONIC LAB NOTEBOOKS
DOW CHEMICAL HELPS DRIVE
COLLABORATIVE ELECTRONIC LAB NOTEBOOKS
TO MARKET IN VENDOR-NEUTRAL CONSORTIUM
BOSTON, MA--The Dow Chemical Company has joined the Collaborative
Electronic Lab Notebooks Consortium. This Consortium of large industrial
companies is driving the creation of software systems for electronic lab
notebooks and R&D team project data management and collaboration systems
for the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, food and beverage, oil and gas,
and related chemical-based industries. Dow is the fifth Fortune 300 company
to join the partnership, along with Air Products and Chemicals and three
as yet undisclosed pharmaceutical companies.
"Scientists have long needed electronic notebooks as a way to minimize the
tedium of lab work. Currently, researchers spend many hours per week
writing, transcribing, cutting and pasting and otherwise transferring data
in paper notebooks to record their work." observes Dr. Rich Lysakowski, the
Consortiums Executive Director. He continues "Yet, paper notebooks are
just one part of a much larger system for managing records, data and
documents in R&D projects. The paper chase and tedious bottlenecks in
productivity must be minimized. In their current paper form, notebooks
are very time-consuming to use and costly to manage -- they lock up key
information needed to speed up projects." Dr. Lysakowski says further that
"Scientists really require very flexible, open and interoperable software
tools that integrate electronic lab recordkeeping, project data management,
and collaboration processes. This user-driven Consortium is coordinating
the efforts of major R&D organizations through an open process that ensures
emerging products fit end users needs well."
Barbara Sutter, Manager of R&D Proprietary Information and Corporate
Information Technology at the Dow Chemical says "The Consortium is a
good deal for Dow because from the start we can specify, test and verify
that vendors are building what we need -- the result is that our needs get
met better, for less money. Our computer users are asking for better tools
to enable them to collaborate globally, and be more productive by
eliminating redundant and inefficient paper processes." Barb adds "The
Consortium has an open software architecture and open business practices
that lets us to pick our infrastructure and scientific toolkits ourselves,
and integrate them more easily than before. The Consortiums shared vision
is consistent with Dows computer strategy. Simply put, it provides us with
the best leverage for our money."
The two-year Collaborative Electronic Notebooks Consortium is now recruiting
additional members, up to a maximum of 15. The Consortium Members are
defining and funding the development of commercially-supported electronic
notebooks that capture, store and manage electronic records within existing
systems for groupware, document management, the World Wide Web, and other
systems used in scientific laboratories. The software will permanently
and archive all common types of data from analytical, organic, biochemical,
genetic, toxicology and other laboratories, including instrument spectra,
chemical structures, documents, spreadsheets, DNA and protein structures,
and other data.
At the close of the two-year Consortium, full searching and sharing of all
common types of notebook information will be possible from the commercially
available products. The notebook software clients will be have a modular
architecture that include plug-ins that specialize notebooks for different
types of labs and job functions.
The Consortium is pulling together all necessary pieces, which exist now,
and using them in the right combinations to satisfy the major requirements
for both scientists and their support staff. For example, the Consortiums
lab notebook software systems will allow chemical structures and spectra
embedded in existing products to be referenced and easily used, including
products such as CAS SciFinder, Beilsteins CrossFire, MDLs ISIS,
tools based on SMILES, Tripos, Oxford Moleculars tools based on
Galactic Industries GRAM/3D, Hewlett Packard, Perkin Elmer, Beckman, and
many others. Scientists typically use more than one chemical structure
handling product and must access specific subsets of the 50+ million
in databases spanning several of the aforementioned vendors. Scientists also
typically use many different instrument and spectral data systems.
instrument data systems and LIMS are other classes of software that will
eventually be integrated into the collaborative electronic notebook systems.
The Consortium has already started defining practical standards, benchmarks
and best practices for procedures that meet all the major legal and
requirements for open systems that manage electronic records in accurate,
trustworthy, reliable ways.
The Collaborative Electronic Lab Notebooks Consortium has been operational
since December 1995. It expects to deliver its first software and knowledge
packages by early 1997. Interested companies with a need for electronic
notebooks and team project data management and collaboration systems for R&D
and testing labs are invited to join the Consortium now.
Consortium Members receive large software discounts, determine system
specifications and get early access to software. Potential Members are
encouraged to join before October 11, 1996, after which the membership rates
Qualified vendors of electronic lab notebooks, groupware, document and
management, LIMS and instrument interfacing systems, scientific information
databases, and integration tools will be awarded contracts to develop and
support the Consortium software.
Companies interested in becoming Consortium Members should contact:
Dr. Rich Lysakowski, The Collaborative Electronic Notebooks Consortium,
8 Pheasant Avenue, Sudbury, MA 01776. E-mail: rich at teamscience.com,
Tel: 508-443-4771. Fax: 508-440-9798.
CONSORTIUM BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The electronic lab notebook systems and tools will come from several leading
scientific software vendors selected by the Consortium. Because lab data
formats and applications are so specialized, varied, and constantly changing,
supporting all common scientific lab data types is beyond the scope of any
one scientific software vendor. For example, a medium-sized drug company in
the consortium states that it must support over 400 different commercial
applications every year in Research alone.
Application and data integration is an almost insurmountable challenge for
end users and support staff. Other key Consortium deliverables include
point-and-click application integration tools that encapsulate existing
softwares, turning them into standard objects that easily plug into
notebooks clients and servers. These tools will allow Consortium Members to
configure multivendor solutions at a fraction of current costs.
Scientific software markets comprised of niche vendors focused on LIMS,
instrument data systems, chemical and biological information systems, and
numerous data processing and reporting applications. Niche vendors have
failed to meet the legal, regulatory, and systems integration requirements
to create successful electronic notebooks -- as evidenced by the failure of
the ResearchStation product and Helix Systems, Inc. in 1995 and the
from the market of the ForeFront Group, Inc.s Virtual Notebook System in
Organic and medicinal chemists working in combinatorial chemistry,
high-throughput screening and other types of scientific labs have stated they
would like interfaces that give them equal access to each of these products
from within the Consortiums electronic notebook systems. The systems must
simultaneously serve and go beyond vertical market segments such as
biology, and materials science.
Although chemical structures are important for many research labs, most needs
for electronic notebooks exist in labs where few if any chemical structures
are used. Companies in the consortium have learned the lesson that they
cannot afford to replace their infrastructure with products from scientific
niche vendors for something as important as the corporate intellectual
property contained in their R&D records. Most R&D companies have already
committed their infrastructures to one or more general-purpose base platforms
for Web groupware, data, or document handling, such as Lotus Notes,
Microsofts Exchange, NetScape WebServers, Documentums EDMS, Interleafs
Intellect/BusinessWeb, Saros Mezzanine, Oracle and others. This precludes
companies from switching to vertical solutions from a single scientific
software vendor. The Consortiums strategy is to leverage existing
investments by building on top of and integrating such base platforms,
which will be chosen within the next few months. The tools logically must
come from several software markets simultaneously.
The World Wide Web, MS-Windows, and Macintosh computers are target operating
systems for the electronic lab notebook and team project data management
The Dow Chemical Company is the largest US chemical company, operating 94
manufacturing sites in 30 countries. Headquartered in Midland, Michigan,
Dow is diversified into basic commodity and specialty chemicals,
polymers, solvents, agrochemicals, consumer products, and environmental
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. is one of the largest suppliers of
gases and equipment worldwide. Headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania,
Air Products maintains a strong partnership with companies in delivering
for all applications, specialty and intermediate chemicals, and environmental
and energy systems.
TeamScience, Inc. is the leading international market catalyst firm in
software research, engineering, training, consulting and publishing.
in Sudbury, Massachusetts, USA, TeamScience focuses on consortia and
to deliver scientific applications of groupware, electronic notebooks and
management systems, document management, LIMS, and instrument interfacing
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