This was one of the conclusions reached during the Paperless Lab Academy (PLA) held in Amsterdam in May 2014 as Scientific Computing World (SCW) article "Paperless laboratories do better science" reports.
Benefits of Paperless Labs
The benefits of moving to a Paperless Lab system are evident if we consider that “between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of data records contain errors or missing values. A 3 per cent error rate could push costs up by 30 per cent” as Gerhard Noelken, Business IT Lead for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer for about 9 years stated, according to the above SCW article.
Moreover, as Nick Nugent from ACD/Labs pointed out, the benefits of a successful Paperless approach can be huge: “If improved tools for searching data could shave just one month off the time to bring a new chemical entity to market in the pharmaceutical industry, then that would represent more than $10.5 million in net present value”.
On the other hand, “Successful implementation of paperless laboratory approaches depends as much on successful ‘change management’ among the staff affected by the move as on the details of the technology itself”, explained Peter Boogaard, chairman of the Paperless Lab Academy 2014.
The success of this ‘change management’ process implies professionals must be aware of the need to balance short-term and longer-term goals, especially during the early stages of implementation before the improvements become apparent to all, as Lawrence Barrett, programme director of Digital R&D at Unilever explained in his keynote address.