Ten simple rules for a computational biologist's laboratory notebook


One of the major hurdles I face as the head of a computational biology laboratory is convincing my research team—particularly those pursuing exclusively mathematical and computational modeling—that they need to keep a laboratory notebook. There seems to be a misconception in the computational biology community that a lab notebook is only useful for recording experimental protocols and their results. A lab notebook is much more than that. It is an organizational tool and memory aid, which serves as the primary record of scientific research and activity for all scientists. It also serves as a legal record of ownership of the ideas and results obtained by a scientist. Here, I present the best practices (summarized as ten rules) for keeping a lab notebook in computational biology, for scientists pursuing exclusively “dry” research.