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Containing the Deluge

Every scientist knows that research generates data, says In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe. However, not every researcher deals with the data in the same way. For drug research in particular, it can be difficult to track information for the thousands of compounds being screened for various purposes. "Most larger companies have some sort of proprietary software for the job," Lowe says. "The idea is that you can enter a structure (or substructure) of a compound and find out the project it was made for, every assay that's been run on it, all its spectral data and physical properties (experimental and calculated), every batch that's been made or bought (and from whom and from where, with notebook and catalog references), and the bar code of every vial or bottle of it that's running around the labs." But, he adds, there must also be a way to cherry-pick information as needed, and to display that data in a way not so overwhelming that it's useless.

Commenter PPedroso writes that his small company is content using Excel spreadsheets for now, as they don't have many projects going yet.

"We are able to use an integrated 'report-puller' at the small company where I work: a custom-built program which can pull user-defined data from our central data capture system," MarkE says. This kind of program makes large Excel files manageable, MarkE adds.

And ChrisS says there are several software platforms available for both small and large companies, depending on their needs. "What I don't want is for my chemists and biologists spending time pushing data around to get it in a form they can use; better to present the data in a useable form and let them think about what to make next," ChrisS comments.

Daily Scan wants to know: How do you keep track of your data?

The Scan

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