Electronic lab notebook reviews: What Benchling users have to say

Kyrstin Lou Ward

Without a doubt, life science R&D companies are realizing they need to make the switch to a paperless lab, and electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) are a key component of that digital transformation. However, it can be difficult to determine which ELN will truly eliminate the challenges you are facing with your current record-keeping tools and deliver the benefits that vendors promote.

Of course, we believe that Benchling Notebook—our version of an ELN, and so much more—delivers a user-friendly, cloud-based experience and full insight into your R&D operations, but no one knows the true benefits of the technology better than our users themselves. Here, we’ve compiled electronic lab notebook reviews from Benchling Notebook users to help you determine if Benchling should be part of your lab’s digital transformation.

Benchling electronic lab notebook reviews

“[Benchling] almost feels like an unfair advantage compared to companies not using these types of systems.”

– Fengru Lin, CEO, TurtleTree Labs

Benchling is a user-centric electronic laboratory notebook system

Our mission is to accelerate life science R&D by bringing user-friendly, transformative software to teams developing breakthrough technologies, so naturally life science R&D teams are at the core of how we design our technology. Users regularly find that Benchling Notebook is the most flexible, intuitive electronic lab notebook system they’ve ever used. This drives high user adoption, and labs reap the rewards of using a single data management system. In fact, 80% of users at a global agtech company agreed that Benchling is easy to use and adopt.

“The Notebook is very convenient for all the scientists and associates in the lab, because the user interface is very easy. Uptake has been a lot better than past electronic notebooks.”

– Tiffany Chen, Director of Discovery, Rubius Therapeutics

“For Jounce, the benefits were immediate. All the little things add up to the whole system being more intuitive, more efficient, and ultimately gives scientists more time to think about their experiments instead of thinking about the tools they have to work with.”

– Todd Rowe, Assoc. Director of Research Informatics, Jounce Therapeutics

Benchling is a one-stop suite offering full experiment traceability

Benchling Notebook has the capabilities of a top-tier ELN and is integrated with the capabilities of a top-tier laboratory information management system (LIMS). Not only that, but it’s offered as one of our six unified cloud-based applications that, when used together, allow teams to accelerate, measure, and forecast R&D – from discovery through bioprocessing – all in one place. This makes our Notebook one of the most capable and connected electronic lab notebooks on the market.

With our applications being unified and easy to configure, Benchling provides labs with a data warehouse where every piece of data is centralized and connected. You can tie expression plasmids to critical data, such as the performance of the proteins they produce, or connect a small molecule compound with a full history of SAR-driven derivatization and assay data. Not only does this help keep your data organized and findable, but helps you to remain audit-ready for regulatory reviews.

At Inzen, where scientists are connecting cell death data to potential tumor-killing therapeutics, users insist on keeping all experimental data and tracking in a single software solution, Benchling. After exploring why, we found that 2/3 scientists feel Benchling makes data more findable and searchable, compared to alternatives they used in the past.

“Benchling allows the best traceability of record because it handles data and files as 'entities', not just unorganized characters. While we write [in] the ELN and capture the data, [those entities] are being organized for the future.”— Jinwon J., Principal Scientist

“[Benchling] is a great way to keep teams’ ELNs organized. [We also] benefit from their multiple platform tools. Benchling is a one-stop suite of options for any R&D team.”— Diego V., Director, Immunology

Benchling Notebook help teams work collaboratively

Notebook connects team members across geography and throughout the pipeline. One way is through the ability to bi-directionally link different Notebook entries, so that future experiments can reference relevant experiments from the past. This allows scientists in downstream groups to easily access a complete history of everything that happened upstream of them. This smooths out data handoffs between lab members and streamlines transitions between project phases, which ultimately makes collaboration easy and efficient. In fact, four out of five scientists at TurtleTree Labs agree Benchling increases the speed of collaboration.

Additionally, users find it convenient and powerful to present results and R&D progress directly from Benchling rather than from another tool like PowerPoint, because everyone can easily access the data and results shared in team meetings. In this way, the impact of Benchling extends from the lab to the boardroom.

“Benchling is our R&D database, so the goal is that everything comes from Benchling when we make any R&D decisions.”

— Brigitte Hofmeister, Bioinformatics Software Engineer, Pairwise Plants

The benefits of Benchling Notebook only increase as your team grows and evolves. With data accessibility, experiment transparency, and shared vocabulary, scientists across departments and international locations can collaborate just as easily as a single team.

Benchling heightens productivity

With life sciences rapidly evolving, and processes and instruments becoming more and more sophisticated, it’s no surprise that many research labs are in need of an ELN solution that capitalizes on the advantages of the digital environment to make it easier and faster to find, record, and set up experiments.

Benchling delivers complete continuity, cutting down time spent on manual data entry and data cleaning tasks, and puts all the information you need for analysis or your next assay at your fingertips. You can templatize data entry in Notebook, automate data entry from your instruments to a unified data warehouse, and then link that entry and data to specific samples, plasmids, cell lines, and reagents.

Companies are finding Benchling to be easy to adopt, and are seeing the productivity benefits of implementing Benching as early as possible. For instance, Anagenex estimates a 200% increase in speed thanks to starting with Benchling at the very beginning of the company's inception.

Benchling helps growing and established companies scale

Benchling is a trusted partner to hundreds of life science organizations, from startups to global pharmaceutical giants. Our team is well-versed in how to address the data and operational challenges faced by growing companies. Benchling is designed to easily scale, standardize processes, and help scientists identify and quantify process improvements, so companies won’t have to worry about outgrowing their data foundation and can keep productivity high as their workflows evolve and as teams grow.

With Notebook, you can create collections of entry templates to help standardize experiments and processes. This helps drive the reproducibility and consistency needed for efficient and cost-effective scale-up. What’s more, as you bring on new teams and external collaborators, you can store and share all research data – protocols, primers, sequences, and more – all in one place.

Beyond data entry and storage, Notebook—when integrated with Benchling Insights—gives scientists and executives the full history of experiments and a 360-degree view of R&D progress, enabling them to forecast resource requirements, optimize processes, and ultimately, make prompt, data-driven decisions.

“If you’re expecting to succeed at all, you should expect a lot of data quickly. It’s much more difficult to go back when you already have a vast amount of data. If you look at any experienced entrepreneur, many of them build systems early with the growth process in mind.”

– Max Rye, Chief Strategist, TurtleTree Labs

Final Thoughts

Working closely with our users not only helps us to deliver ELN software that life science R&D teams truly want to use, but also allows us to hear the real benefits they are gaining. Our customers have told us that they’re seeing 200% increase in R&D speed, attaining company-wide adoption within months, and viewing Benchling as an “unfair advantage”.

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