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ELECTRONIC RESEARCH NOTEBOOKS
Wasson*, S AND B T. Culpepper. ELECTRONIC RESEARCH NOTEBOOKS. Presented at 23rd Annual National Conference on Managing Environmental Quality Systems, Tampa, FL, April 13 - 16, 2004.
To inform the public.
The paper details the public availability of Electronic notebooks (EN) and an example of a system in use within a research laboratory in the Office of Research and Development. Research notebooks contain intellectual property which must be guarded until it can be disseminated with credit attributed to its creators. Advances in computing in the last decade mean that the entire research and invention process can be executed in electronic files beginning with the plans (word processor), continuing with the implementation (instrument output files, spreadsheets, image files, mathematical calculations), and ending with the reports (visualization programs, reports, presentations). Paper notebooks require that much of the electronic record be printed and pasted into the notebook. Paper notebooks are easily secured because just one record exists, but EN potentially exist in many versions. The usability of EN as research notebooks relies on the ability to integrate into the records a computer-generated, automatic time-stamped audit trail and transparent access control These last ten years have produced several commercial products that seek to provide irrefutable data integrity and security. EPA has proposed rules for electronic record keeping via the Cross-Media Electronic Reporting and Record-keeping Rule (CROMERRR) and has initiated several demonstration projects in cooperation with the regulated community. The Agency has not taken up the issue of research EN for either personal or collaborative use.