Putting data management in the hands of researchers with Hivebench acquisition

Integration of lab notebook tool will help researchers enrich their data and make it more suitable for reuse

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Research data is the foundation on which scientific, technical, social and medical knowledge is built. That’s why enabling access, sharing and reuse of data is tremendously valuable to everyone involved in advancing science.

Every researcher uses his or her own method to manage and describe the data they captured. In some domains, there are well established ways of how this should be done to ensure that anyone can understand the data in the future. However, in many domains there is much freedom in terms of how to capture and describe data that a meaningful common way to do this is not easy to achieve. Therefore in most fields, the data, the environment, the software, the methods, and the protocols are kept as separate entities, and it is up to the researcher to combine them as needed.

As a result, whenever a researcher leaves an institution, all the data left behind is meaningless to others in the lab. Even understanding exactly your own data and methods from a couple of years ago can be a challenge. So it happens that research experiments have to be executed again, purely to make sure that the understanding of the data and how it was captured and analyzed were truly correct.

Wouter HaakWith the acquisition of the Hivebench lab notebook tool, Elsevier puts the essential first step in research data management at the fingertips of the researcher.

“There are quite a few challenges to making research data manageable for researchers themselves, and for fellow researchers,” said Wouter Haak, VP of Research Data Management Solutions at Elsevier. “We’ve been working on addressing these by creating solutions that support researchers to store, share, discover and re-use data. That way, authors receive credit for their work while the wider research community benefits from discovering and using research data.”

Hivebench’s lab notebook on laptop and mobile devices.

Some of these initiatives enable posting data in repositories, supplementary data depositing, data journals, method journals, and promotion of the use of proper data citation practices as laid out in the Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles, which Elsevier endorsed.

“The first step in this process is to help researchers link data and metadata without having researchers change the way they do their work,” Haak explained. “This step is possibly the most important one but cannot take additional time, feel like administrative overhead or impede their work. On the contrary, this step should help researchers do their work more easily, while metadata and structure is added in the background.

“Hivebench has been successfully providing that service for researchers already. Now that they’ve joined Elsevier, we can together add more value that ultimately enriches the data and make it more suitable for reuse.”

“Saving researchers time by providing them with a user-friendly way to store and manage their data has been our focus until now,” said Dr. Julien Thérier, CEO and founder of Shazino, the Lyon, France-based company that launched Hivebench. “But we knew that if we wanted to scale up our activities and create additional added value, our product would need to be integrated with a chain of tools that catered to the need of researchers to share and reuse data sets as well. Elsevier’s Research Data Management portfolio does exactly that, and a lab notebook like Hivebench is a key asset to that portfolio.

“The integration with Elsevier also enables us to make the Hivebench service available to many more researchers, making sharing and reuse possible on an unprecedented scale.”

The added value lies in linking all the pieces of the Research Data Management portfolio together. The research data that researchers have stored in the Hivebench notebook are linked to the Mendeley Data repository, which we will link to Pure. This way the research data is linked with metadata such as the DOI, the published article if it is already there, controlled data versioning, and the method, which adds instant value to the datasets because they become far more suitable for reuse.

Researchers benefit in a number of ways, Haak explained:

First of all, Hivebench simply makes a researcher’s job easier. Secondly, many funders these days require researchers to provide insight into their work, including their data sets. This becomes easier with the help of an electronic lab notebook. Third, research shows that articles that are linked with their underlying data get cited more. And finally, researchers tell us that many times they find data sets, if they are well described, more relevant than the article itself. They sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of articles that they need to digest, and find it hard to determine what to read and what not to read. Data can provide more information, provided of course that the right metadata are linked to it so the data sets are adequately described. And that’s exactly what we’re doing by linking Hivebench to Mendeley Data.

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Harald BoersmaHarald Boersma (@hboersma) is Director of Global Corporate Relations at Elsevier. He is based in Amsterdam.

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